In 1853 Liz Herbert contacted Florence about a position for Superintendent at The Institution for the care of Sick Gentlewomen in Distressed Circumstances. On April 18th Florence went for and interview before a committee, chaired by Lady Canning. They were not sure if Florence was suitable, she was a young lady in society, would she be able to take orders from a committee. Was it right for a lady to nurse one who was not a lady? Also it had come to their notice that Florence’s parents had not agreed to her applying for the position. It had been Marianne who had told one of the Committee Ladies about Fanny and Parthe, and their objection to Florence taking up nursing, stirring up an old family quarrel between the Nicholsons and the Nightingales. Though Fanny and Parthe disapproved they would not have Florence attacked by Marianne. William wrote to the Committee informing them that she had his official sanction. He also gave Florence £500 a year, making her independent. Anyone receiving this amount a year, it was reckoned could afford to employ both a cook and a well-turned out parlour maid. During this period, apart from farming, this was the biggest single British industry in terms of people employed Florence would take up her position as soon as new premises were found. (The home was founded in Chandos Street.) On August 12th 1853, she was at long last launched on her career at the Institutes new premises at Number 1 Harley Street. Most of the patients there were retired governess, they were given two month there, and then they would have to leave, that was unless they were dying. Florence was in total charge of the finances of the Institution. While she was at the Institute she took rooms in Pall Mall.
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