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quarters not being ready for them, dirt in the wards, and generally drunken, disorderly, miserable conditions. Blennerhasset was probably from Derbyshire, for a Derbyshire friend of Nightingale’s, Georgiana Hurt, reported on the nurses cleaning up the hospital. They left, however , after a year, Blennerhasset finding the stairs and hills too difficult . Nightingale’s letter to Blennerhasset prior to their departure is not available; their long report to her is.824 Barbados In 1899 there was correspondence between Henry Bonham Carter, L.M. Gordon and various officials of the Barbados General Hospital regarding the training of six ‘‘poor, middle-class women . . . white or coloured . . . with a taste and desire for work.’’825 Retrospective on Extending Nursing in Hospitals Editor: On Mary Crossland’s retirement in 1896, William Rathbone wrote an appreciation for her being able to bring ‘‘nursing so rapidly forward from a discreditable and discredited position to its present honourable and honoured one.’’ He said that all (with one exception) of the superintendents who introduced the ‘‘N. system’’ into the north of England had been trained by her.826 Nightingale’s own appreciation for Rathbone’s contribution appears in the next two items. Finally, there are reminiscences from two of the earliest probationers. Source: From two letters to William Rathbone, Liverpool Record Office, Rathbone Collection 610 1/41 and 42 March 1899 It seems to me that I have not written to you for a long while—you, our greatest benefactor. How many owe their lives to you! How many bless the day that gave you to the world! Some indeed are falling around us now ‘‘like leaves in wintry weather,’’ but, thank God, nothing can be less like leaves. Everyone is taken up by God for a splendid future of work in His service. We have lost Sir Douglas Galton. He is a great loss. But there were none like you, and God has given you to us for eighty years. Pray God, He may give us you yet for years. I was so 824 Letter 18 May 1894, Add Mss 45812 ff134-41. 825 Letters (1) of Joshua Baeza and (2) the director of the Barbados Hospital 19 August 1899 and 17 January 1900, Florence Nightingale Museum (LMA) H1/ST/NC18/28/47-48. 826 Note 15 July 1896, Add Mss 47741 f290. 574 / Florence Nightingale: Extending Nursing sorry not to be able to see you when you were so good as to call when you were last in London. ever yours gratefully Florence Nightingale 30 April 1900 It is quite impossible for me to thank you enough for the paper—no, not if I were to write it a hundred thousand times. You have been so kind as to send me, of which I have read every word, or rather had every word read to me that pertained to our subject, and shall have it all read over again to me tomorrow. It is admirable and surpassing in interest. I shall write again tomorrow, if I may. Who shall say that our times are not as exciting and full of interest as the best times of the Republic of Rome? ever yours Florence Nightingale Editor: In 1904 Fanny Lovesey (later Wilson), from the 1862 class, wrote to Nightingale as one of the ‘‘oldest’’ of her probationers, with her news. She had worked in hospitals for nearly forty years, was lady superintendent at the Stafford Infirmary, and later matron at the Birmingham General Hospital.827 The letter is noted as having been acknowledged. In 1908 Bessie (Chant or Chaunt) Simpson, a probationer from the 1865 class, who had gone to Sydney and remained in Australia the rest of her life, wrote Nightingale with reminiscences of her life’s work. Mrs Simpson had only just retired from her twenty-year matronship at the Gladesville Hospital for the Insane, having been given nine months’ leave of absence with full pay and a gratuity of £190.828 827 Letter 23 October 1894, Add Mss 45815 f166. 828 Letter to Nightingale 20 February [1908], Add Mss 47757 f297. Extending Nightingale Nursing in Hospitals / 575 Ella Pirrie, first trained matron of the Belfast Workhouse Infirmary, with a letter of encouragement from Nightingale. Photograph courtesy of Ross McDonald. 576 / Florence Nightingale: Extending Nursing ...


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