London Museum: Florence Nightingale Museum. If you’ve ever dressed up in a nurse’s uniform or you are looking for interesting museums in London, the Florence Nightingale Museum is worth a visit.
Florence Nightingale Museum Highlights
I used to dress up in a nurse’s uniform when I was a child. I can still recall my dad teasing me by saying – “Mercy, Mercy, Nursey, Nursey,” whenever I was waving my pretend stethoscope about. I was looking for something to do last Sunday and noticed the Florence Nightingale Museum was open so decided to pop in. Some say Nightingale was a saint while others are sceptical about her methods. But to her credit, she was a strong and determined woman, who did a lot for other people. I wanted to find out more about the lady who carried the lamp and influenced me to play at being a nurse.
This famous lady with the lamp was a social reformer, statistician and the founder of modern nursing. I discovered that she came from a well to do British family and was born in Florence, Italy in 1820, hence her name. The family moved to Hampshire in 1821. It was uncommon for women of her social standing to take a job but after a ‘calling from God,’ the desire to help other people was something she couldn’t ignore.
The focus of the museum is to celebrate the life and work of the world’s most famous nurse. It spans from the Victorian period to the present day where the Nightingale legacy still influences nursing. You will also learn that Nightingale had a sister, marriage proposals and was a clever and very persistence person.
At this museum, you’ll find out about the Spanish Flu pandemic in 1918 which infected half of the world’s population. The outbreak came after WW1 and killed more people than the war. The exhibit shows hospital beds and how easily the virus was spread. The Crimean War was also a large part of the Nightingale story. However, recent research argues that Lord Palmerston’s sanitary commission, which called for improved ventilation and cleaner sewers, might have helped more than Florence’s focus on nutrition. Whichever is correct, there is no denying that Florence was there and worked tirelessly to help the sick.
Spanish Flu Exhibit
The exhibition is laid out in a creative way with interactive elements and is a good mix of education and history. I felt that I’d found out a lot more about Nightingale’s work and her legacy after my visit.
It’s very fitting that the museum should be located at St Thomas’ Hospital because this is where Mary established her Nursing School. It was the first secular nursing school in the world which is now part of King’s College. Nightingale actually had a lot of input into the design of the hospital from the architecture to the layout … so good on her.
Florence Nightingale Museum Information
To find out more go to the Florence Nightingale Museum Website. The address is 2 Lambeth Palace Road, Lambeth, London SE1 7EW which is located in the grounds of St Thomas’ Hospital. The hospital is close to Westminster Bridge on the South Bank of the River Thames. The nearest stations are Westminster (District and Circle Line) or Waterloo (Northern Line).
Opening hours are Monday to Sunday from 10 am until 5 pm, with 4.30 pm being the last admission. Ticket prices are £8 for adults with concessions. There is a gift shop on-site and toilets but no café. In 2020 the museum will be celebrating Nightingale’s Bicentenary; the website will have more information nearer the time.
Other Things To Do Near The Florence Nightingale Museum
The London Eye
While you are visiting the Nightingale Museum you might want to explore The London Eye and other tourist activities. Read my Ten Things To Do In The South Bank List for more information. Close by is the Garden Museum which might be of interest. Enjoy your visit.
Author: Homegirl London. Photographs: Homegirl London.