Statistics & Evidence Based Healthcare

William Farr, 1807-1883

No. 177

William Farr is regarded as one of the founders of medical statistics. Upon return from the Crimean War, Nightingale enlisted Farr’s help to process the data she’d collected and worked with him to design her famous ‘rose’ or ‘coxcomb’ diagram. The diagram presented the shocking reality of army mortality rates during the Crimean War, and Farr described the image as “light shining on a dark place”. Through working together, Farr and Nightingale developed a friendship spanning over 20 years with approximately 400 letters being exchanged between them.


William Farr

William Farr
by Ernest Edwards, published by Alfred William Bennett
albumen print, published 1865
NPG Ax14769
© National Portrait Gallery, London

Exhibits from ‘Statistician & Evidence Based Healthcare’

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!