Pioneer and Campaigner

Josephine Butler, 1828-1906

Display No. 34

Josephine Butler was an English social reformer and champion of women’s rights. She is known for her successful campaign to repeal the Contagious Diseases Act in 1886. These laws required women who were suspected of being prostitutes to undergo intrusive medical examinations.

Controversially, male clients were not subject to this. Nightingale was a signatory on an article called the ‘Women’s Protest’ in the Daily News, supporting Butler and detailing why the Contagious Diseases Act was unjust and discriminated against women.

The US National Library of Medicine

Exhibits from ‘Pioneer and Campaigner’

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!