Manuscripts and Special Collections

Florence Nightingale Comes Home

Graphic displaying the exhibition title Florence Nightingale Comes Home

In 2020 we celebrated 200 years since the birth of Florence Nightingale.

Our physical exhibition was delayed several times due to Covid but eventually ran in the Weston Gallery, Lakeside Arts from 17 May to 5 September 2021. In this online version of the exhibition you can read the exhibition boards, turn the pages of our virtual scrapbook, explore a gallery of Crimean War photographs and learn more about the connection between Nightingale and local landowner and politician Henry Pelham-Clinton, 5th Duke of Newcastle, whose family home was Clumber Park, Nottinghamshire. 

Florence Nightingale Comes Home was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and curated by Manuscripts and Special Collections and the 'Nightingale Comes Home' project team at the University of Nottingham.



Florence Nightingale carte de visite_web versionCarte de visite of Florence Nightingale by William Edward Kilburn, c.1856

From a private collection.


Exhibition boards

When Florence Nightingale returned from the Crimean War she was a national celebrity, one whose fame has endured to this day. But who was Florence Nightingale and what had led her to the war in the first place?


Crimean War photographs

James Robertson (1813-1888) was an English photographer and coin engraver. He lived in Constantinople and opened a studio there in 1854 along with his partner, his brother-in-law Felice Beato (1832-1909). 

Robertson and Felice Beato travelled to the Crimea together and photographed the scenes of devastation after the fall of Sevastopol on 9 September 1855. Their work became well known through engravings of these war photographs, printed in magazines such as 'The Illustrated London News'. Examples of original prints survive in various libraries, museums and archives.

Our collection of 37 images are available to view on our digital gallery. 

Crimean War digital gallery

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Turn the Pages

Crimean War scrapbook

Illustration of Florence Nightingale with a wounded soldier

Turn the pages of our virtual Crimean War scrapbook compiled by Florence's sister, Parthenope

Turn the pages: virtual Crimean War scrapbook

Letters from the 5th Duke of Newcastle  

Photograph of a letter in the Newcastle collection

Browse a selection of letters of the 5th Duke of Newcastle, who was Secretary of State for War at the beginning of the Crimean conflict.

Turn the pages: Letters of the 5th Duke of Newcastle


Tours, films and talks

Join exhibition curators Richard Bates and Hayley Cotterill for a guided tour of the 'Florence Nightingale Comes Home' exhibition.

Take a guided tour of Florence Nightingale's Derbyshire

Florence Nightingale's Sister(s): Family and Nursing in the Nineteenth Century

Dr Richard Bates examines Florence Nightingale’s relationship with her sister, Parthenope, and her development from dutiful daughter to national nursing heroine. 

This story is set in the context of broader issues facing nineteenth century working women, and the family ideology shaping the creation of a different kind of ‘sister’: professional nurses. 


Florence Nightingale and Health at Home

Dr Jonathan Memel explores how young Nightingale’s charitable visits to working-class cottages inspired her longstanding mission to improve the living conditions of working people in Britain.

He considers her bestseller Notes on Nursing (1860) alongside her subsequent attempts to popularise sanitary discourse and embed health concerns in the home.  


Watch our series of short films introducing items from our collections.

Focus on: The Florence Nightingale Collection

Focus on: Letter from Florence Nightingale


Focus on: Report on the State of Hospitals of the British Army

Focus on: Suggestions on... organising nurses for the sick poor in workhouse infirmaries


Focus on: The Diary of the 5th Duke of Newcastle


Get the latest updates

Follow Manuscripts and Special Collections Exhibitions on twitter @mssLakeside to keep up to date with the latest exhibition news.


Manuscripts and Special Collections

Kings Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 4565
fax: +44 (0) 115 846 8651