On this day in 1820 Florence Nightingale was born in Florence, Italy, here parents naming her after the city. As a skilled statistician and the founder of modern nursing, she would become one of the 19th century’s most famous social reformers.
Nightingale came to prominence while serving as a manager of nurses trained by her during the Crimean War, where she organised the care of wounded soldiers. She gave nursing a highly favourable reputation and became an icon of Victorian culture, especially in the persona of "The Lady with the Lamp" which came from her making rounds of wounded soldiers at night.
In 1860, Nightingale laid the foundation of professional nursing with the establishment of her nursing school at St Thomas' Hospital in London. It was the first secular nursing school in the world, now part of King's College London. In recognition of her pioneering work in nursing, the Nightingale Pledge taken by new nurses, and the Florence Nightingale Medal, the highest international distinction a nurse can achieve, were named in her honour, and the annual International Nurses Day is celebrated around the world on her birthday.
Her social reforms include improving healthcare for all sections of British society, advocating better hunger relief in India, helping to abolish prostitution laws that were over-harsh to women, and expanding the acceptable forms of female participation in the workforce.
Nightingale was a prodigious and versatile writer. In her lifetime, much of her published work was concerned with spreading medical knowledge. Some of her tracts were written in simple English so that they could easily be understood by those with poor literary skills. She was also a pioneer in the use of infographics, effectively using graphical presentations of statistical data.
She died on August 13th 1910, in Mayfair London, aged 90.
This scene was built by James Pegrum as part of a series of models on interesting events and people in British history. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to see them first.
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