Florence Nightingale Centenary Celebrations, Derby

On the date of her death, 13th August, a centenary service took place at Derby Cathedral in remembrance to Florence Nightingale.

Events to mark the 100th anniversary of the death of Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) have been scheduled across the country from Hampshire, where her grave lies, to the Florence Nightingale Museum in London, and in Derbyshire. On the date of her death, 13th August, a centenary service took place at Derby Cathedral. As the introduction to the service said: ‘Florence Nightingale was, and remains, a giant from the past, relevant in the present and for the future.’ The service, conducted by The Rt Revd Dr Alastair Redfern, Bishop of Derby, was attended by the Lord Lieutenant and High Sheriff of Derbyshire, local and civic dignitaries and representatives of the army and nursing professions. Before the service there was a procession from the Guildhall led by the clergy and members of the 4th Battalion (TA) the Mercian Regiment with colour party and mascot Private Derby, joined by nursing staff and re-enactment soldiers in period uniforms. A packed cathedral listened to readings from Captain Simon Cupples CGC of 2 Mercian and Anne Johnson of Royal Derby Hospital, and singing led by the Derby Hospitals Choir.

The service was the start of a weekend heritage festival at Lea Bridge and Holloway. From an excellently researched and presented exhibition on the life of Florence Nightingale at the Gothic Warehouse, Cromford Wharf, it was a short trip to Lea Bridge for a family event. Florence Nightingale’s nearest relative, Margaret Povey, opened the occasion which featured music from the Masson Mills Band, a play, heritage crafts, displays and a birds of prey demonstration by James McKay, as well as plenty of food and drink – including Thornbridge brewery’s Athena beer – named after Florence’s pet owl.

The final stop was Holloway’s Memorial Hall to see a commemorative well dressing, an exhibition about early nursing and enjoy a tasty cream tea.

The Florence Nightingale Derbyshire Association has published two Heritage Trail guides available from Matlock TIC.

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