Florence Nightingale timelineNurses Day 2009

12 May 1820 
Born in Florence, Italy, to William and Frances Nightingale.

Whilst in the gardens of her family home in Embley, Hampshire, Florence heard the voice of God calling her to do his work, but at this time had no idea what the work would be.

July 1850 
Florence returns from her trip to Italy, Egypt, Greece and Germany where she visited Pastor Theodore Fliedner’s hospital and school for deaconesses at Kaiserswerth near Dusseldorf.

1851 – 1853 
Florence returns to Kaiserswerth for three months nursing training which then enabled her to take up post as Superintendent of the Establishment for Gentlewomen during illnesses at number one Harley Street in 1853.

March 1854 

Britain, France and Turkey declare war on Russia. British medical facilities for the wounded are criticised by The Times. Florence recruited to oversee the introduction of female nurses into the military hospitals in Turkey.

November 1854 
Florence arrives in Scutari – a suburb on the Asian side of Constantinople – with 38 nurses. Initially the doctors did not want their help but within ten days fresh casualties arrived from the Battle of Inkermann and the nurses were fully stretched.
Florence also wrote home on behalf of the soldiers and acted as banker – sending the men’s wages home to their families. She also introduced reading rooms in the hospital.

Mary SeacoleMary Seacole arrived in London and offers her services to Mrs Elizabeth Herbert (wife of Sidney Herbert, Secretary at War), who was in charge of recruiting a second group of nurses to join Florence in Scutari, but is rejected.


Mary Seacole funds her own passage to the Crimea. She also purchases medicines and home comforts that would be useful for the military. Florence and Mary meet and see much of each other in Balaclava.

November 1855 
To show the nation’s gratitude, a public subscription was organised to enable Florence to continue her reform of the civil hospitals of Britain.

August 1856 
Florence returned from the Crimean War, four months after the peace treaty was signed, and she hid herself away from the public’s attention.

November 1856 
Florence took a hotel room in London which became the centre for the campaign for a Royal Commission to investigate the health of the British Army.

For her contribution to Army statistics and comparative hospital statistics in 1860 Florence became the first woman to be elected a fellow of the Statistical Society.Florence Nightingale

Florence established the Nightingale Training School for Nurses at St Thomas’ Hospital, London. Florence’s best known work Notes on Nursing was published – this is still available today and has been translated into eleven languages. In total Florence published 200 books, reports and pamphlets during her lifetime.

Florence devotes closer attention to the organisation of the Nightingale Training School and almost annually for the next 30 years she wrote a letter to the students giving advice and encouragement. On completion of their training, Florence gave them nurses books and invited them to tea.

In recognition of Florence’s hard work, she received the Royal Red Cross from Queen Victoria.

Florence receives the Order of Merit – becoming the first woman to receive it.

13 August 1910 
Florence dies at her home at 10 South Street, Mayfair, in the West End of London and was buried at St Margaret’s East Wellow, near her parent’s home, Embley Park in Hampshire.