Nightingale's Connections to Derbyshire
Although Florence Nightingale is a familiar historical figure, most people do not know that her early years, and plentiful summers throughout her life, were spent in Derbyshire, where her family had built a home - and owned a large estate, as this blog post explains.
Nightingale was of course born in the Italian city that she was named after. But while she was still a baby, her parents moved to the village of Lea, Derbyshire, close to the industrial town of Cromford and the spa town of Matlock. This was the source of the family's fortune, thanks to the industrial success and connections of her great uncle Peter Nightingale (1736-1803).
After the family moved to Embley Park in Hampshire in 1825, they retained the Derbyshire home, Lea Hurst, as a summer house, spending around three months per year there.
Download Nightingale-themed walking and driving tours around Lea & Holloway!
Nightingale developed numerous connections to the region, many of which have left traces that can still be seen today. Throughout her life she retained a strong interest in the villages of Lea and Holloway and their inhabitants, looking out for the medical and nursing needs of a number of residents and seeking to set up public facilities such as reading rooms and coffee houses. She is also linked to, and celebrated at, various sites in the centre of Derby.
Visit the Lea Hurst page to take a virtual tour of the Nightingales' house - now available online for the first time.
In 2010, the Florence Nightingale Derbyshire Association held an exhibition to mark the 100th anniversary of the death of Nightingale. The exhibition was displayed during August 2010 at the Gothic Warehouse, Cromford Wharf, part of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site. An associated programme of music, dance, film and walking events were held throughout Derbyshire.
View the display boards from this exhibition - and download local walking and driving tour maps!
Become a Citizen Researcher
Do you perhaps live in the area and / or have a family or local connection to the Nightingales?
We are keen to hear from researchers and students both within and beyond the academic community who are interested in Florence Nightingale and the themes that we are exploring. Our blog will include guest posts from Citizen Researchers. To get involved in this or other ways, please tell us about your interests via the Get Involved page and we will get back in touch.