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Secret love affair?

Florence Nightingale hit the newspapers this weekend, with shocking new details about her life having been uncovered. 

In his revised edition of ‘Florence Nightingale, Avenging Angel’, now renamed ‘The Passions of Florence Nightingale’, her biographer, Hugh Small claims that Florence Nightingale was involved in a passionate relationship with a doctor, Sir John McNeill during her time in the Crimea.  He has uncovered letters between the pair where they refer to each other by their first names.  Yes, that’s pretty scandalous for Victorians.  He claims even to have proof that they tried to arrange a night of passion together in Edinburgh upon their return to Britain!

This might even have led to Florence Nightingale making a humiliating mistake: namely, backing up McNeill in his claim that 5000 soldiers had died in the Crimea due to poor army rations.  This was in fact discovered to be untrue – poor sanitation on hospital wards resulting in dysentery had in fact been responsible for the deaths.  Nightingale had to humiliatingly admit the error of her ways.  By this time, it seems, McNeill’s wife had put a stop to the affair!


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Welcome to my ‘History of District Nursing’ website and blog.  Click ‘About’ above to find out a bit more about me, the website’s resident researcher/history guru/district nursing fan.  I’ll be posting lots up here: from research on district nursing heroines past, to my own humble opinions on the development of this noble profession.  Keep visiting for regular updates!  If anything you find on here seems to you to be important, fantastic, or just plain wrong, use the comment facility to give me feedback.  I can’t wait to hear from you.

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