REVEALED: Florence Nightingale's connections to Salisbury Hospital

REVEALED: Florence Nightingale's connections to Salisbury Hospital

Published by Faye Tryhorn at 5:39am 12th May 2020. (Updated at 8:23am 12th May 2020)

3 minute read

Tuesday 12th May would have been the iconic nurse's 200th birthday, and we've been finding out more about her links to our city.

Did you know that Florence Nightingale grew up at Embley House in West Wellow and is actually buried in the village? 

She was also keen to train at the then Salisbury Infirmary on Fisherton Street as it was considered to be a 'modern hospital' back in 1845.

But her family tried to turn her against the profession as nurses at that time, tended to come for poorer backgrounds, and that wouldn't be becoming of a lady of her status.

Salisbury Infirmary Fisherton Street Salisbury
The Salisbury Infirmary site as it is today

Florence then asked Sidney Herbert, the President of Salisbury Infirmary, son of the 11th Earl of Pembroke, living at Wilton House, and also Minister of War at the time for help.

He got her involved in the nursing effort for the Crimean War, but kept in close touch with friends in Salisbury throughout her career.

More details about Florence Nightingale's connections to Salisbury's nursing are being revealed by the ArtCare department at Salisbury District Hospital.

Lesley Self from there has been telling Spire FM about her story: 

The story's also being shared more widely now to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, on International Nurses Day.

ArtCare has plenty of resources on Florence's links to Salisbury in an online exhibition.

There's also a statue of Sidney Herbert in Salisbury's Victoria Park, having previously been placed outside the Guildhall.

Florence Nightingale Letter from November 1896 Salisbury ArtCare
One of the letters written by Florence Nightingale to her cousin Edith Joanna Bonham Carter, while she was Superintendent of Salisbury's Nurses Home


Some of Florence Nightingale's pioneering work during the Crimean War could easily fit in with the current coronavirus pandemic, and the way nursing has had to adapt.

Lesley Safe from ArtCare at Salisbury District Hospital explains the similarities:

"A lot of her early work was about infection control - in the hospital, it was about cleaning the hospital and keeping the beds at a certain distance and all those sorts of things, so it's all messages that we would be promoting today."

Throughout today (Tuesday 12th May) on Spire FM, we're celebrating International Nurses Day by speaking to those within the profession at Salisbury District Hospital.

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