Florence Nightingale Comes Home for 2020
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Nightingale Sites in Lea, Holloway, & the Surrounding Area

Lea Hall

Lea Hall (not to be confused with Lea Hurst) was the ancestral Nightingale home, and the base of Peter Nightingale II (1736-1803) who developed the family fortune with business interests in lead mining and cotton spinning in the region - he opened Lea Mills, later taken over by John Smedley and still in operation today, in 1784. 

Lea Hall is a 17th and 18th century manor house, consisting of a Georgian frontispiece added on to an older building. Above one of the doors is an inscription 'P.N.' (i.e. Peter Nightingale) 1754' - the year in which Nightingale inherited the property and added the five-bay Georgian frontage. 

Peter left his estate to William Nightingale, Florence's father, on his death. The Nightingale family, including Florence, lived at Lea Hall in 1821 after their return from Italy. However they only stayed there infrequently thereafter, once they had built Lea Hurst, at the other end of the village. 

As of 2018 the hall is used as a holiday rental property on the cottages.com website, and has been renovated with some period features. 

For more details on Peter Nightingale see our page on the Nightingales' industrial connections

Lea Hall front

Lea Hall PN plaque

 Photos by Richard Bates, 2018, (CC BY-SA 3.0)



Cromford Bridge House


Above: Cromford Bridge House. Photograph by Pam Rivers, 2018 (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Below: Cover of The House at Cromford Bridge, by Pam Rivers (2018) 

Pam Rivers

The house at Cromford bridge has existed in some form since the 1530s, when it belonged to the Wigley family and was known as Senior Field House. It thus significantly predates the pioneering cotton mills of Richard Arkwright, which came to dominate Cromford from the 1770s onwards. 

The house came into the Nightingale family orbit in the eighteenth century, when Ann Nightingale (1733-1815) and her husband George Evans purchased it with Ann's dowry on their marriage in 1757. Their daughter, Elizabeth Evans (1762-1852), Florence Nightingale's great aunt, lived there during Florence's youth. Florence would regularly visit the house when staying in Derbyshire. 

After the death of Elizabeth Evans in late 1852, Florence's mother Fanny suggested that she convert the now empty house and run it as a nursing home. From her mother's point of view, this would enable Florence to fulfil her nursing ambitions while remaining firmly connected to the wider family. Nightingale turned down the offer, feeling that she was not yet ready to take such a step, and perhaps also not wishing to live permanently in Derbyshire, preferring instead to move to London to run a nursing home in 1853.

Florence Nightingale described the house as

 the most perfect of Derbyshire old houses, with its paved terrace and its flight of stone steps overlooking the dashing river with a Virginian Creeper over its roof, which in autumn was a perfect sheet of fire, twisting with a broad-leaved vine in and out of the old mullioned windows, shutting out light as none in these days would be allowed to do uncropped.


[quote from L. McDonald (ed), Florence Nightingale’s European Travels. Collected Works of Florence Nightingale, Vol. 7 (2004), p. 683.]

A history of the house and its occupants has recently been written by its current owner, Pam Rivers. If you would be interested to take a look at this, please contact the project team via nightingale2020@nottingham.ac.uk


 Approach Cromford Bridge House in Nightingale's footsteps....

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Florence Nightingale Comes Home for 2020
Email: nightingale2020@nottingham.ac.uk