Florence the Woman

Florence Nightingale’s Voice, 1890

Display No. 186

Florence Nightingale’s only audible words were recorded by a representative from the Thomas Edison Company on 30 July 1890 at her home in South Street. In this brief and now very difficult to hear recording she remembers her time during the Crimean War some 34 years previously. First, a female announcer tells us the date and location of the recording, then we hear Florence speak.

Female announcer: “At Florence Nightingale’s House, London, July the thirtieth, eighteen hundred and ninety.”

Florence Nightingale: “When I am no longer even a memory, just a name, I hope my voice may perpetuate the great work of my life. God bless my dear old comrades of Balaclava and bring them safe to shore. Florence Nightingale.”

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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!