Florence Nightingale in Mayfair - 27 September

27 September, 2016 - 19:00
Lord Mayor's Reception Rooms, Westminster City Hall, 64 Victoria Street, SW1E 6QP
Florence Nightingale

You are warmly invited to join us for a talk about Florence Nightingae in Mayfair by Nightingale expert Hugh Small. This is the first talk in the sixth season of the Westminster History Club, set up to raise funds for scholarly research into the history of Westminster by the Victoria County History. The Club meets in the Lord Mayor's Reception Rooms, Westminster City Hall, 64 Victoria Street, SW1E 6QP. This is a social event, held four times a year, with a glass of wine and a talk on some aspect of the history of Westminster by a guest speaker. The event starts at 7pm. All welcome but please RSVP. Tickets are £10 at the event.

Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) lived in Mayfair for most of her long life after the Crimean War. Hugh Small will describe some surprisingly well-preserved sites in Mayfair connected with her very important work for public health reform after the war. It is now accepted that she devoted most of the decades 1856-1876 to a campaign for the sanitary regulation of private homes. The end of this period coincided with the start of a dramatic increase in national life expectancy, and the accepted scholarly view is that mains drainage of private property and the devolution of public health powers to local authorities were responsible. Life expectancy at birth increased from 40 years to 60 after 1872, before medical science could make any contribution to the control of epidemic disease.

Speaker: Hugh Small’s book Florence Nightingale, Avenging Angel (Constable, 1998) first documented Nightingale’s new focus on domestic sanitation after the war. In the 2013 edition he used newly-accessible parliamentary records to show that she drafted the key clauses of the Public Health Acts of 1874 and 1875 which mandated mains drainage of private property. He also shows that she combined with local government reformers to ensure the devolution of public health powers to local authorities under the Local Government Board Act of 1871. These achievements, now recognised as crucial to the increase in life expectancy, stand comparison with those of any modern social reformer, male or female, elected or unelected.


If you would like to attend or join our mailing list, please contact:

Francis Boorman francisboorman@hotmail.com

Judith Warner jwarner.westminster@hotmail.com

Cathy Longworth  longworth.cathy@gmail.com

For more information about the Westminster History Club please click here