Florence Nightingale's Gift
As we have celebrated the work of the NHS this year, did you know that one of the great influences on the nursing profession, Florence Nightingale, has a close association with a library in Buckinghamshire. Not only did Florence Nightingale advance the nursing profession she also took a keen interest in many social reform issues, one of which being self-education as a means to improve quality of life of all.¹
Florence was a frequent visitor at Claydon House, home of her sister, Lady Verney. She took an interest in her surroundings and nearby Steeple Claydon where she donated the princely sum of £50 to help establish a library there.
The cheque she donated can still be viewed at Steeple Claydon library mounted within a plaque with Florence's words.
"SO GLAD THE FOUNDATION - STONE IS BEING LAID OF THE STEEPLE CLAYDON PUBLIC LIBRARY. I DO WITH ALL MY HEART WISH IT SUCCESS.
10 APRIL 1902.
I THINK A PUBLIC LIBRARY IS GOOD FOR BODY AND SOUL. THAT GOD'S BLESSING MAY REST UPON IT IS THE FERVENT WISH OF FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE"
Photo courtesy of Gill Dean and Steeple Claydon Library
¹Calabria, Michael D., "Florence Nightingale and the Libraries of the British Army" Libraries & Culture, Vol. 29, No. 4 (Fall, 1994), pp. 367-388
Image courtesy of the Florence Nightingale Museum @florencemuseum