THE TIMES 22 AUGUST 1910
MISS NIGHTINGALE’S FUNERAL
It was the desire of Miss Nightingale that she should be buried quietly, without any elaborate show, and the wish was truly in keeping with her simple character and life. The inscription on her coffin could not have been shorter or simpler:-
Born. May 12, 1820
Died. Aug. 13, 1910
Between those two dates she had simply done the duty that fell to her in life. But in discharging her allotted task she had achieved greatness and renown ` much to her own astonishment ` and, in the circumstances, the privacy and simplicity of the burial for which she asked in her will was, perhaps, impossible. The country felt it was bound to give expression to its admiration of the eminent services rendered to humanity by Miss Nightingale in the alleviation of the anguish of the sick and wounded, and in the saving of dear and precious lives, as the pioneer of the modern system of nursing. So the great national tribute of a memorial service in St. Paul`s Cathedral on Saturday was supplemented by a remarkable and quite unexpected demonstration of local feeling at the interment at East Wellow, Hampshire, on the same afternoon. The executors of Miss Nightingale’s will were grieved to see the great crowd at the churchyard. But the assemblage was unavoidable, and happily the demeanour of the people was most sympathetic and reverent. The last resting place which Miss Nightingale selected for herself was at any rate in complete harmony with her gentle, retiring and deeply religious nature. She is buried with her father and mother in a remote country churchyard, in the district where she spent the years of her girlhood, and under the shadow of the ancient edifice where she worshipped. The Church of East Wellow lies in seclusion and tranquillity about four miles from the old borough and market town of Romsey.
In Romsey itself there was but little stir on Saturday. The desire of the inhabitants to respect the wishes of Miss Nightingale’s executors was evident. The railway station was deserted when the funeral train ‘a special from Waterloo’ arrived at a quarter past 1 o’clock. Only a few people assembled outside to see the removal of the coffin from the train to the hearse. It was borne by nine picked from the Grenadier, the Coldstream, and the Scots Guards – the battalions of the Guards which fought in the Crimean War – who came down from London for the purpose. The funeral procession itself was designed to attract as little public attention as possible. The hearse was a glass-panelled car, which showed the coffin covered with a white cashmere shawl, often worn by Miss Nightingale, and decorated with a number of beautiful wreaths.
QUEEN ALEXANDRA’S TRIBUTE
At the foot of the coffin rested the floral tribute sent by Queen Alexandra. It was a cross of mauve orchids fringed with white roses and lilies. Attached to it was a black bordered card containing the following inscription in the handwriting of her Majesty:-
“To Miss Florence Nightingale.
“In grateful memory of the greatest benefactor to suffering humanity, by founding the Military Nursing Service in the year 1853 by her own individual exertions and heroism:-
August 20, 1910.-From ALEXANDRA.”
On the lid, of the coffin also were a large chaplet of crimson sword lilies and a wreath of heather, both sent by the members of the Nightingale family. Following the hearse were five coaches containing the chief mourners. They were:- Dr Shore Nightingale, Mrs W Shore Nightingale, Mr and Mrs Louis Shore Nightingale, Mr and Mrs Vaughan Nash, Mr and Mrs H L Stephen, Mr Arthur Hugh Clough, Miss B A Clough, Mrs Perrott, Mr and Mrs T L Coltman, Colonel Bonham Carter, R.E., Miss Joan Bonham Carter, Sir Harry Verney, Mr Frederick Verney, and Mrs Nixon.
The funeral passed slowly through the narrow streets of the town. From the tower of the old Abbey, dating back a thousand years, the Union Jack floated at half-mast. A few of the shops put up mourning shutters. The knell of church bells was heard. But otherwise there was no display of the customary habit or show of bereavement. The people suspended their labours, and coming into the streets stood with bare heads as the coffin went by. Only a few persons followed the funeral on foot to East Wellow. After leaving the town it went by Broadlands, the home of Lord Palmerston, where he was born and died; and thence by a winding road bordered by hedgerows to the churchyard. About half-way between Romsey and East Wellow the road skirts the boundary of Embley Park, formerly the seat of the Nightingales. The funeral turned into the demesne, and passing the house, a fine Elizabethan mansion, silent, and all the windows shrouded, emerged by another gate into the public road once more.
AT THE CHURCHYARD
The countryside seemed to be forsaken. Not a soul was to be seen in the harvest fields or by the wayside. But as the funeral approached East Wellow the explanation of this deserted aspect of things was forthcoming. All the inhabitants had gathered at the churchyard to pay their last respects to a renowned and noble lady who had lived for a time in the midst of them and whose early association with the district was a cherished memory. The weather was inclement. The drizzle of rain which fell as the funeral made its way, at a walking pace, from Romsey to East Wellow, developed into a heavy shower when the churchyard was reached, and continued during the service and interment.
At the lich-gate stood the officiating clergy the Rev. S M Watson, vicar of East Wellow, and the Rev T S Gardiner, London, a friend of the family, to receive the body. The coffin was carried on the shoulders of the Guardsmen up the steep path leading to the church, which was lined with people standing three or four deep under dripping umbrellas. It was preceded by six old tenants and workmen of the estate, who, as children, remembered Miss Nightingale; and it was followed by the family mourners. Under the porch of the church stood a Crimean veteran, 84 year old, feeble and one-eyed. Private John Kneller, of the 23rd Foot (now the Royal Welsh Fusiliers), lost his eye in the trenches before Sevastopol, and as he lay for three months in the hospital at Scutari he often saw Florence Nightingale carrying her lantern on her nightly visits to the place.
The brief Burial Service and the severe simplicity of its setting were surely in consonance with Miss Nightingale’s rooted distaste for ostentation. The church is a 13th century edifice. Its outer walls are coated with flints set in mortar, and its roof of red tiles is surmounted by a wooden bell-tower. Inside it was bare of ornamentation. The walls up to the dark oaken roof, are whitewashed. On one side this coating was peeling off, disclosing a rude coloured fresco, painted, it is supposed, in the 13th century, and depicting the martyrdom of St Thomas of Canterbury. The coffin rested on high black trestles in the …… inseparable from the record of Miss Nightingale’s labours in the Crimea.
As the little church had accommodation for fewer than 200 people, not many were admitted beyond the family mourners and representatives of the gentry and the farming and labouring classes of the district. But room was naturally found for a number of nurses in uniform, who came from Salisbury. It was the ordinary Burial Service, interspersed with some of the favourite hymns of Miss Nightingale simply rendered by the village choir. The opening hymn was “The Son of God goes forth to war.” The 90th Psalm was recited. This was followed by the hymn, “On the Resurrection morning.” And finally “Nor the labourer’s task is o’er” was sung. Then the coffin was carried by the military bearer-party out into the churchyard. The path to the graveside was fringed with wreaths. Indeed the floral tributes were so numerous that the entire churchyard was decorated with them. The Nightingale family vault is but a few yards from the porch of the church. It is marked by a pillar-stone, terminating in a spire upon which there is an inscription recording that Miss Nightingale’s father died in 1874, 80 years old, and that her mother passed away six years later. The open grave was also lined with floral tributes. Standing at its head was a large cross of white flowers, mounted on a pedestal, from which depended a long satin ribbon bearing the inscription in gold letters – “With grateful appreciation of a noble example. From the matrons and nursing staffs of all the London hospitals.” On one side of it was a chaplet from the Army Council, inscribed “In Memoriam.” On the other side was a floral model of a military lantern, sent by the Army and Navy male nurses “in token of deep gratitude to the pioneer of nursing.” Close by was a cushion of white Blossoms with the initial letter “B” formed of blue flowers. “With the heartfelt regrets.” Said the inscription, “of the survivors of the Balaclava Light Brigade Charge. To our benefactress and friend of nearly 60 years.” The committal service was very brief. The drizzle continued while these last rites were performed and the coffin was lowered into the vault.
The following is a list of some of those who sent wreaths which are not mentioned in the account of the funeral:-
Miss Nightingale’s secretary; the servants at 10 South-street.
The American Ambassador and Mrs Whitelaw Reid
Princess Frederica, “In deepest sympathy.”
The Officers, N.C.O.’s and Men of the Royal Army Medical Corps, “A tribute of profound admiration and respect.”
The Matron and Nurses, the present patients and the domestic staff of the Hospital for Invalid Gentlewomen, 19, Lisson-grove. (Miss Nightingale was head of this institution when it was in Harley-street, before she went to the Crimea)
The Nurses and Council of St John’s House, “In kindness to the nurses of St John’s House who worked under her at Scutari.”
The Matron and nursing staff of the Royal Herbert Hospital.
The Newcastle and Gateshead Veterans’ Association. “In grateful and affectionate remembrance of one who was the British Soldiers’ ministering angel.”
Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service (a scarlet Maltese cross), “In reverent and affectionate memory.”
The International Council of Nurses in the name of the 25,000 members of the affiliated National Councils of Nurses of Great Britain and Ireland, Canada, The United States of America, Germany, Denmark, Holland, and Finland ( a chaplet of laurel and roses), “With homage to the also the President of the German Nurses’ Association)”
The American Federation of Nurses (a chaplet of laurel and roses).
The Red Cross Society.
Queen Victoria’s Jubilee Nurses, “In reverence and gratitude.”
The Copenhagen Nurses’ Association, through the Consul-General for Denmark
The Tasmanian Trained Nurses’ Association
The Institution of Nursing Sisters, 4, Devonshire-square, Bishopsgate, “In remembrance of the association of the institution in the Crimea and during the closing years of her life.”
The Members of the Nurses’ Union, through Miss Dashwood, National Head.
The Nightingale Graduate Nursing Institution, Victoria, British Columbia (a chaplet of laurel and lilies).
The London Hospital (a large cross and a chaplet of laurel and roses), “With deep veneration and grateful affection.”
“Through such souls alone,
“Through such souls alone,
For us in the dark to rise.”
The Nursing Staff of the Royal Derbyshire Nursing Association, “In loving remembrance.”
The Nurses of the Royal Edinburgh Infirmary, “With respectful and affectionate homage.”
The Lady Superintendents, Matrons, and Nurses of the Liverpool Queen Victoria District Nursing Association, “In loving memory of the Inspirer of the Nursing of the sick poor in their own homes.”
The Nurses of the Somerset Hospital, Cape Town.
Miss Wilson, the Treasurer, Miss Rosalind Paget, Miss R P Fynes Clinton, and the Members of the Midwives’ Institute and Trained Nurses’ Club.
The 700 Members of the St Bartholomew’s Hospital Nurses’ League.
The Scottish Matrons’ Association.
The Liverpool Nurses’ Training School.
The Superintendent and Staff of the Mental Nurses’ Co-operation.
The Matron and Nursing Staff of the Nurses’ Co-operation.
The Nurses of the Birmingham Infirmary.
Miss Curtis and the Queen’s Nurses of Hammersmith and Fulham.
The Commandant and Members of the Women’s Sick and Wounded Convoy Corps.
The Members Army and Navy Club.
The National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies
The Officers, Sisters, and Children of the National Children’s Home and Orphanage.
The president (Miss C A Rogers) and members of the Leicester Infirmary Nurses’ League and the nursing staff.
The president (Miss C A Rogers) and members of the Leicester Infirmary Nurses’ League and the nursing staff.
The nurses of Nurses Hostel, Francis-street W.C
The nurses of the North Evington Infirmary, Leicester.
The matron and staff of the South London District Nursing Association.
Miss Hadden and nurses Metropolitan Nurses’ Association
The sailors, soldiers, and Marines of a former generation from members of the Union Jack Club, “In grateful remembrance of Miss Florence Nightingale’s devotion.”
The 93rd Sutherland Highlanders, 2nd Battalion Argyll and Sutherland, “The thin red line.”
The Tankersley Ex-Soldiers’ Association (a wreath of laurel and heather), “In loving gratitude. The gracious work she did will never die.”
The mistress and staff of Girton College.
The Master and brethren of the Florence Nightingale Lodge No 706, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons.
The North of England Society for Women’s Suffrage, “A tribute of admiration and respect to a pioneer among women.”
The following cousins of Miss Nightingale:-
Mr Benjamin Leigh Smith, Miss Leigh Smith, Mr Nicholson, Miss Nicholson, Mr and Mrs Leonard Cunliffe, Mrs Gascoigne, and Mrs Robert Nixon, and Miss Eira Ludlow, goddaughter of Miss Nightingale
The following relatives of the late Sir Harry Verney, Miss Nightingale’s brother-in-law:-
Lady Verney and family, Mrs Lloyd Verney and family, Mr Harry Lloyd Verney, and Mr and Mrs Gerald Fanshaw, and Miss Ruth Verney, goddaughter of Miss Nightingale.
Wreaths were also sent by the following:-
Mrs Thorne and Dr May Thorne, who was Miss Nightingale’s medical attendant for the last five years. Miss A. L. Pringle a former matron of St. . . . . . . . . . the Hon. Maud Stanley (“With the most grateful remembrance of Miss Nightingale’s great kindness to me”); Lady Frederick FitzRoy (“In kind remembrance of the Crimea 1855”); Miss Paget and Miss Rosalind Paget (“In memory of the Crimea”); Mr and Mrs Buchanan, 12, South-street (“In memory of greatest of women and kindest neighbour”); Sir William Farrer and Miss Minnie Farrer; Major G F Harley Thomas (“In memory of my late father’s friend and fellow-worker”); Major Spencer F. Chichester, Embley Park and Embley Estate; Mr and Mrs G D Taviner and family, Miss Susan Chance, Mrs E. Herbert Draper, Mrs F H Haydon, Mrs Brawley, Mr F J Duthie.
Temperance Grillage (“In loving memory”) (an old servant, wife of Peter Grillage, whom Miss Nightingale brought back as a little friendless boy from the Crimea and took into her service); the daughter of a soldier (4th King’s Own) who fell in the Crimean War (“With the deepest sympathy”); a soldier’s daughter, whose father was killed in the Crimean War (“In loving remembrance”); the daughter of a Crimean veteran (“In grateful Memory”) “the widow of one whose regiment she nursed in the Crimea”, “A New Zealander who mother (now dead) when a young girl had the honour of presenting Miss Nightingale with a bouquet as she passed through Nuneaton Railway Station on her return from the Crimea.”
A wreath of heather was sent by Stella Forester, age seven, “To dear Miss Nightingale,” with the request, “Please may my wreath be put with the other flowers- I picked the heather and made it myself.”
MEMORIAL SERVICE IN ST. PAUL’S
It is not to be supposed that many of those who constituted the great congregation in St. Paul`s Cathedral on Saturday had ever seen Miss Nightingale. Some of the red-coated pensioners, perhaps, or the other Crimean veterans who attended the memorial service, remembered her gracious presence upon distant fields, A comparative few, also, of the men and women present may have been brought into personal contact with her at home through her interest in the organisation of the nursing profession. To the vast majority, however ` even to the majority of the nurses who came to St. Paul’s ` Miss Nightingale can only have been a name, or perhaps a tradition, though an inspiring one.
This circumstance rendered the tribute which was paid to her memory in this service in the Cathedral Church of London all the more remarkable. The great building was crowded with those who desired to do honour to the illustrious lady whose name had been held in reverence by successive generations of her compatriots; and it might have been filled over and over again if all the applications for tickets could have been granted. The congregation thronged the nave, the space beneath the Dome, the choir, and even the choir galleries. Those who occupied seats on the left of the choir were close to the statue ` the first ever created in St. Paul’s ` of John Howard, a philanthropist whose efforts in the cause of suffering humanity acquired for him a place in the affections of his countrymen similar to that occupied by Florence Nightingale. To her might well be applied the noble words in which Burke described the object of Howard’s labours – “to remember the forgotten, to attend to the neglected, to visit the forsaken.”
One bore away from the Cathedral impressions of a solemn simple service, of beautiful music exquisitely rendered, of uniformed nurses and grey, bent old soldiers, of the glitter of military accoutrements, and the deep mourning of the men and women who filled the church. There were nearly a thousand nurses present, but they were only the representatives of thousands of them in London and throughout the country. All the great London hospitals and many of those in provincial cities sent some members of their nursing staffs, and in the space beneath the Some there was to be seen an infinite variety of nurses uniforms ` cloaks and bonnets of blue, grey, black, or scarlet. Some nurses came in hospital costume, with white caps, but the outdoor uniform was more generally worn. The men from the Chelsea Hospital, about 50 in number, were given seats on the south side of the Dome, where their quaint uniforms made a vivid patch of scarlet. All the men wore their Crimean medals. There were other decorations of the same kind to be seen here and there in the congregation, proudly displayed upon the civilian clothing of old soldiers.
THE NAVAL AND MILITARY NURSING SERVICE
In a prominent position near the Chelsea pensioners were the ladies representing the Territorial Force Nursing Service, with short scarlet capes over their nursing uniforms, and the representatives of Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Service in their grey and scarlet costumes, as well as those of the Nursing Services of the Navy. Many of them wore medals which betokened war service. Immediately in front of the choir steps was stationed the band of the Coldstream Guards, under Lieutenant J Mackenzie Rogan, with their drums swathed in black. Next to the band, and facing the altar, were placed five chairs for the representatives of the King, the Queen, the Queen Mother, The Duke of Connaught and Princess Christian. The were occupied respectively by Major General J S Ewart, A.D.C. General; Lord Wenlock, Colonel H Streatfeild, Captain T R Bulkeley, and Major J E B Martin – all of course, in full uniform. Behind them, in the seats reserved for the representatives of the Services and the regiments which took part in the Crimean War, were many other brilliant uniforms, including those of more than one Highland regiment.
The officers present included the following:-
Lieut.-General Sir W H Mackinnon (who with Mr R H Brade, represented the War Office); Captain C E Madden R.N. (representing with Sir C Inigo Thomas, the Board of Admiralty); Surgeon-General W L Gubbins, Director-General Army Medical Service; Staff-Surgeon G F Dean, R.N., Lieut.-Colonel Sir R Havclock Charles, Indian Medical Service. Major-General Luke O’Connor, V.V., who served as a sergeant at Alma and received his commission as a reward for conspicuous gallantry in that battle; Major Ricardo, Adjutant of the Royal Hospital Chelsea; and Lieut.-Colonel Hugh Sutton, Coldstream Guards.
The Prime Minister, who was unable to attend was represented by Mr R S Meiklejohn. Other Ministers also were specially represented:- Lord Crewe, by Mr C T Clay; Mr Haldane, by Mr F C Bovenschen; and Lord Morley of Blackburn, by Sir Richmond Richie. The American Ambassador, Mr Whitelaw Reid, attended with Mrs Reid, and the familiar form of Mr Burns was recognised among the general congregation. The Rev J v Macmillan was present on behalf of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Hon. Maude Lawrence (Chief Woman Inspector of the Board of Education) represented that department. The City of London was officially represented by Sir James Ritchie, acting Lord Mayor, who wearing his robes of black and gold, was attended by the City Marshal and the Sword-bearer and Mace-bearer, Sir Vezey Strong and Mr Sheriff Slazenger, in their scarlet robes, accompanied Sir James Ritchie, and a number of Common Councilmen were present in their Nazarene robes. The civic representatives were conducted to seats within the choir.
The Territorial Force Nursing Service was represented by Miss Sidney Brown Matron-in-Chief, Miss Ray (King’s College Hospital), Miss Barter (Chelsea), and Miss Buchanan Riddell (University College Hospital). Two representatives of Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service attended – Miss Beecher, Matron-in-Chief, and Miss McCarthy. The Queen Victoria’s Jubilee Institute for Nurses was represented by Mr W G Rathbone and Mr D F Pennant (hon. Secretaries), Miss A M Peterkin (acting general superintendent), and Miss A C Lowe (secretary). . . . . . . . .Nightingale), and Canon Edgar Sheppard, Sub-Dean of the Chapels Royal.
Major Ricardo (Adjutant of the Royal Hospital Chelsea) had charge of a party of Crimean veterans, embracing all the in-pensioners of the hospital who served in the Crimea and were well enough to bear the fatigue of the journey from Chelsea to the City. Their names and corps were as follows:-
Sergeants John Cooney (57th Foot), Thomas Greenhouse (82nd Foot), John Garrett (3rd Grenadier Guards), and George Powell (6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons); Corporal William Gourlay (Royal Artillery), and Private George Allen (72nd Foot), William Avers (Rifle Brigade), James Bromley (21st Fusiliers), Patrick Burley (30th Foot), William Cox (42nd Foot), John Croft (2nd Life Guards), William Cullen (18th Food), Richard Davis (Royal Artillery), John Dempsey (Royal Irish Fusiliers), John Dickson (Royal Artillery), Michael Dorgan (7th Foot), David Dunbar (6th Foot), Evan Evans (4th Foot), Maragret Fox (Royal Artillery), James Flynn (Rifle Brigade), David Geoghan (13th Light Dragoons), David Goodyear (28th Foot). William Gosling (4th Foot), Cornelius Heffernan (Royal Artillery), John Hill (3rd Grenadier Guards), James Jenkins (30th Foot), George Jones (Rifle Brigade), David Larkin (Landed Transport), H Lewers (7th Foot), William Linahan (18th Foot), Robert McGowan (Royal Artillery), William Manderville (4th Foot), George Morris (Scots Fusliers), John Pittock (55th Foot), John Rogers (77th Foot), Daniel Ryan (89th Foot), Thomas Smith (90th Foot), George Sullivan (46th Foot), Edwin Wallace (Royal Artillery), Joseph Wallington (50th Foot), Charles Waller (10th Hussars), John Warren (62nd Foot), and Michael Whelan (46th Foot).
Many of these old soldiers were very feeble and could walk only with the aid of sticks or crutches, while some bore the marks of the battles they had fought , having lost limbs or suffered injuries which had left their scars. Other Crimean veterans attended independently, some, though ill able to afford the expense, having come long distances by train to pay their last tribute to the memory of the lady whom more than one of them remembered as ministering to them in their hours of sickness and suffering. Among the veterans who thus attended were:-
Mr Peter Kent (formerly of H.M.S. Tribune), Mr Henry Ostridge (formerly of the 1st Battalion Royal Scots), Mr Thomas R Vile (formerly of the Coldstream Guards), Mr George Smith (formerly of the R.M.L.I., Chatham Division, attached to H.M.S. Algier), Mr William Piner (formerly of the 63rd Foot), and Mr J Norman (formerly of the Scots Guards).
The service began at noon, but the congregation were in their places half an hour earlier. In the intervening period the band of the Coldstream Guards played appropriate selections – the Largo of Handel, the “Judex” from Gounod’s “Mors et Vita,” and the “Sanctus” from Gounod`s “Messe Solennelle,” This music was fitting prelude to the simple but affecting service which followed. After the entry of the choir and the clergy – Canons Newbolt and Alexander, and the Minor Canons – the congregation joined in singing the hymn “The Son of God goes forth to war,” one of Miss Nightingale’s favourite compositions. The singing was accompanied by the organ, at which Sir George Martin presided. Special psalms were sung ` the 5th, 23rd, and 27th ` with the antiphon “Make thy way plain before my face.” The “Benedictus,” sung to Martin in A flat, followed with the sentence “I am the resurrection and the life” (to the music of Croft) as the antiphon. Then came the Lesson, read by Canon Newbolt at the chancel-gate. It was the chapter of “the former Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians” from the Order for the Burial of the Dead, with its triumphant climax.- then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death where is thy sting` O grave, where is they victory`
The magnificent strains of the “Dead March” in Saul, preceded by the prolonged roll of the muffled drums which Lieutenant Mackenzie Rogan has designed for these occasions, filled the Cathedral with a volume of solemn music. As they died away the choir of men’s voices, accompanied only by the organ, broke forth in the beautiful Liturgy of St. Chrysostom, sung to the deliberate modulated phrasing of the Kieff chant. A number of prayers followed including the Collect from the Burial Service and the prayer which precedes it. In this prayer the name Florence was introduced. Then again the congregation sang a hymn which was known to be dear to Miss Nightingale, “The King of Love my Shepherd is.” After the Benediction the band played with impressive effect Gounod’s “Marche Solennelle.” This brought the service to an end, and the congregation remained standing while the representatives of the King and other members of the Royal Family, followed by Mr and Mrs Whitelaw Reid and the civic procession, left the Cathedral by the west door.
References to the death of Miss Nightingale, with appreciation of her life’s work in the cause of humanity, were made in most of the churches throughout the country and at the parade services in the various military stations yesterday.
CANON NEWBOLT, preaching at St. Paul’s, said that no one who was present at the service in that Cathedral on the previous day, in which they commemorated Miss Nightingale before God, was likely to forget the wonderful significance of that representative gathering of mourners, drawn by the magnetic influence of her name. Those who remembered the dark days of the Crimean tragedy, those to whom she was but a name, those who, day by day, had cause to thank her foresight and practical wisdom for the tender alleviation of suffering on many a bed of sickness, the great army of nurses who proudly owned her as their chief, on whom the mantle of her devotion and skill had fallen, those who were only dimly conscious that a great heroine had left the earth – all these and many more were represented at the service on Saturday to thank God for a splendid memory, a noble example and a tradition of inspiration.
Sometimes when we got out of heart with the world, sometimes when we took up our burden with a heavy heart, it might cheer and console us to see how the world still reserved its greatest honours for simple goodness. Among the most venerated and popular personalities of our time there would stand out three of commanding pre-eminence – Queen Victoria, General Gordon, and Florence Nightingale; and the appeal which they made was the appeal of simple goodness ` children of God who, thinking little of earth, place, and honour, sought rather to please the Captain of their salvation. Certainly she whose memory they honoured to-day was overburdened by the praise which she could not avoid, distressed by the light of her deeds which betrayed her excellence, and pained by notoriety. A simple grave in a country churchyard, rather than a public funeral in Westminster Abbey, was a fitting sequel to a hidden life forced by duty into prominence. The name of Florence Nightingale would live on in many a quiet home where the memory of her goodness was the tradition which was handed down from father to son, taking rank with deeds of chivalry and devotion in the field. Men would still tell how soldiers would kiss her shadow as it fell upon their bed of sickness and lie down their head upon their pillows again content. They would hand down the record of “the Lady of the Lamp,” making her solitary rounds in the wards through the silent night. They would tell of her benignant presence as an influence for good even among the struggles of expiring nature. With the heart of a heroine, the brain of a genius, the strength of a martyr, Florence Nightingale met the horrors of Scutari and conquered, and made it possible that for after generations the Red Cross of skilled benevolence should float over the ambulances and hospitals of those who should be called upon to draw the sword in the great assize of nations known as war.
The Rev. G A Bienemann, preaching yesterday afternoon at Westminster Abbey, said that it was a combination of feeling with great gifts of intellect and powers of organisation which distinguished Florence Nightingale, who had been laid to rest in a quiet country churchyard while the nation mourned. But it was something more than the feeling, and something more than the intellect, which made her name a household work wherever the English language was spoken. They too needed that something more when they thought of the long road, which remained to be travelled towards the reunion which they hoped for. That something more . . . . . .
Canon Mason, preaching at Canterbury Cathedral yesterday morning, said that Florence Nightingale would rank among the great names of history of Christian philanthropy. It was cult to imagine at the present day the ……. things with which she had to contend, Dr……….as were the sufferings of our soldiers in the Boer War, they were as nothing compared to the hopeless misery of our troops in the Crimean. A life like Miss Nightingale’s should make us …. desire to spend our own lives, not in self-indulgent and self-seeking and self-assertion, but in strenuous devotion to the glory of God and to the good of man.
The Lord Mayor of York, a number of nurses from the Yorkshire County Hospital, the Nurses’ Home, the Military Hospital, and other institutions attended a memorial service to Miss Nightingale in York Minster on Saturday. Lieutenant-General Sir Laurence Oliphant was also present. The Bishop of Beverley, in his sermon, said that Miss Nightingale had added one more evidence of the truth that they were alike the happiest and the most worthy of honour who were the most eager to serve their fellows in the name and in the strength of Christ. Florence Nightingale came as near as it was possible for human nature to come to the ideal Christian woman.
The Rev P F Raymond, Senior Chaplain, preaching at morning service in All Saints’ Military Church, Aldershot, asked what but compassion, love, kindness, and sympathy for her fellow-creatures impelled that wonderful woman, Miss Florence Nightingale, “the Lady of the Lamp,” to undertake the life’s work to which she devoted herself ` a work never forgotten by any to whom suffering appealed, lease of all by soldiers, among whom – friends and foes alike ` she ministered through the horrors and privations of the Crimean War, the pioneer of those Army nursing sisters who of late years had so devotedly followed in her footsteps. The memory of that example of compassion had touched the hearts of many throughout the whole Empire during the past week.
Cannon Bartram, preaching at St Mary, Dover yesterday, said that the name of Florence Nightingale would be for ever sacred. The devotion and self-sacrifice with which she responded to the call to go forth at the head of a band of nurses to succour the sick and wounded sent a thrill through the land and, as the weary months went by, the tidings ever came from the seat of war how she and her sisters, like ministering angels, were gently tending the sick and wounded and tales were told of how many a rough warrior was ready to kiss her shadow as she passed. Her life was devoted to the relief of suffering at first, while her strength remained, by the tenderness of her own ministrations, and then by the great system of trained nursing which was one of the glories of this age.
The Rev H Jones, Chaplain to the Forces, preaching at the Royal Garrison Church, Portsmouth said that she whom they all mourned that day and who amid a nation’s sorrow was to rest, would always stand foremost among those who strove for the needs of humanity. – At the Royal Dockyard Church, the Rev A W Plant referred to the noble work of Miss Nightingale, saying that she was an example of one who, by her devotion to the needs of her fellow-creatures, had made her life a blessing to her own day and for generations to follow.
EAST WELLOW CHURCH
The Rev S M Watson, the vicar, preaching at the East Wellow Church yesterday morning, said that the first thing that would probably strike people when they came to read the life of Miss Nightingale would be the number of opportunities which she found for doing good, for comforting the sorrowful, for relieving the sick, for tending the wounded, for caring for the soldier. She was an unselfish woman, willing and able to put other people first and herself second. If they could learn to cultivate that spirit of constant unselfishness they would find opportunities for doing good as Florence Nightingale had done. It was no exaggeration to say that the national and Imperial future of this great country depended to a great extent upon how far that spirit of goodness was fostered and grew among the people.
A Memorial service was held at St Thomas’s Hospital on Saturday in the little chapel attached to the institution. Miss Nightingale had always taken an interest in St Thomas’s, which was the hospital that she endowed with the money collected for her after her return from the Crimea, when she founded the Nightingale Training School. The Rev A O Hayes (vicar of Holy Trinity, Lambeth) officiated.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE TIMES
Sir, – The work accomplished by Miss Nightingale for the sick has received full and generous recognition. I think, however, that the fact that she was amongst the first of sanitarians to attempt the improvement of the care of mothers and infants has not been duly appreciated. Her watchful eye saw the dangers of poor mothers by unskilled help in their hour of need, and in consequence a ward was opened for midwifery cases in King’s College Hospital many years ago. Had Lord Lister’s knowledge been as advanced then as a little time after, this scheme would have probably met with the success it deserved, but for lack of genius and hard work on the part of many, obstetric cases were not then understood to suffer by the same law as surgical cases. The mortality was high, and the plan long closed our general hospitals to cases requiring urgent care, but as present there are few of these hospitals which do not possess a maternity ward giving help to the poor, as well as training in midwifery to nurses. St Thomas’s Hospital is the latest of the list, and the ward is called after the Queen. The Midwives Act is still incomplete, and will remain so while the training is necessarily so costly and while there is no sort of maintenance fund to fall back on in districts which are too sparsely populated and too remote to afford the entire payment of a skilled midwife. Nursing could never have advanced as it did in the early years without the £50,000 given by the nation as a thanksgiving to Miss Nightingale; if, as she strongly held, prevention was more important than cure, let those with reverence her work come forward to save the health and lives of mothers and infants who have no trained nurse or doctor at hand to work in the straight path of practical hygiene. We want a fund wisely administered to make the Act a living law for good.
JANE WILSON, President
12 Buckingham-street, Strand, W.C.,
The Incorporated Midwives’ Institute