|The Nightingale Society|
|Newsletter||12 November 2014|
Report from Lynn McDonald, 12 November 2014
U.K. Visit October-November 2014
I am back from a most interesting and useful trip to the U.K. Many thanks to all those who attended meetings, formal and informal, provided information and offered help. We made some gains and have some new members.
Nightingale Society meeting
The second meeting of the Nightingale Society was held on October 20 2014, at the Royal Statistical Society, hosted and chaired by Dr Eileen Magnello. Nine members attended, including several new people. We strategized and made plans, which will be announced in due course.
Wreath laying at the Nightingale statue, Waterloo Place
Since the day following our meeting was October 21, the day Nightingale and her team left England for the East, a proposal was raised about recalling this with a wreath laying at the “Crimean War Memorial” (there are statues both of Nightingale and Sidney Herbert). Joan Thompson, OBE, RRC, and a former Nightingale nurse, recalled that pupil nurses from the Nightingale School regularly laid a wreath there on the anniversary of her birth, May 12 (now in Nurses’ Week). The Nightingale Fellowship Journal published a picture of such a wreath laying in 1970.
There was interest in reviving this practice, using social media to bring out nurses (and others).
Black History Month
The decision of the BBC Trustees against the BBC on its nasty video, “Horrible Histories,” provoked a negative story by Hugh Muir in the October 20 issue of Guardian, in which he claimed that Nightingale supporters wanted to change Black History Month into White History Month, and would not admit that Nightingale was even “a tad racist.” Thanks to Mark Bostridge alerting me to the story; I got a letter-to-the-editor in on October 27.
Connection with suffragette Emily Wilding Davison
On the trip I met with several ardent, knowledgeable, supporters of Emily Wilding Davison, the suffragist who died after throwing herself at the king’s horse at the Epsom Derby in 1912. They are concerned about poor (biased) portrayal of her mission, insistent that she was not suicidal (the convenient excuse for her act). They saw the connection with the shoddy treatment of Nightingale in the school curriculum and media at large. Welcome to the Nightingale Society! Maureen Howes, author of the excellent Emily Wilding Davison: A Suffragette’s Family Album, contacted her own MP, Ian Lavery, who agreed to meet with me on the issue, and proved to be both interested and helpful (aha, we share a concern about climate change—he is on the Select Committee on Energy and Climate Change and had just come back from visiting Alberta).