Leadership and Empowerment

‘Cassandra’ by Florence Nightingale

Display No. 96

‘Cassandra’ was originally written as a short story by Nightingale written when 22 years old. Nightingale reworked the text several times but never settled on a version which she was happy to make public. ‘Cassandra’ is a protest against the restrictive life of upper-class women in Victorian England.

She writes about the emptiness of women’s lives and how their time was not valued. She describes how women were not allowed to enter professions or use their minds. ‘Cassandra’ portrayed the struggle of young Victorian women being oppressed by their families to the extent that “disappointment often costs the woman her life”, reflecting Nightingale’s own experiences and struggles with depression and mental health in her teenage years.

‘Cassandra’ by Florence Nightingale. Florence Nightingale Museum Collection

Exhibits from ‘Florence The Leader’

Discover the 200 Exhibits

Nightingale is respected worldwide for her pioneering role in developing the nursing profession, her statistical work, and her evidence-based approach to healthcare. In honour of her bicentenary the World Health Organisation have named 2020 the Year of the Nurse and Midwife.

In our special exhibition, you will find out about objects, people and places which tell interesting stories about Florence’s life and legacy. You’ll discover artefacts from her life, people she both inspired and challenged, and places she helped to shape. There’s many more insights too!

Please click on the different sections of her famous coxcomb diagram to explore various aspects of her life and legacy. We hope you enjoy exploring!