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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): H01/ST/NTS
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1860-2008
Level of description: subfonds
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Extent: 13.6 linear metres
Name of creator(s): Nightingale Training School | St Thomas's Hospital


Administrative/Biographical history:

On Nov. 9th, 1855 a public meeting was held in Willis's Rooms, King Street, St James to inaugurate a public subscription in gratitude for Florence Nightingale's work in the Crimean War. 44,000 was raised, a committee was set up to administer this fund, and on March 13th 1860, A. H. Clough wrote on behalf of the Nightingale Fund Council to the President, Treasurer and Governors of Saint Thomas' Hospital about the possibility of founding a training school for nurses at the hospital. This was Florence Nightingale's idea as to how the fund could best be used. She was particularly attracted to Saint Thomas' Hospital because Mrs Wardroper, the Matron, had already initiated a programme of reform in 1855. Mrs Wardroper became the first Superintendant of the Training School, remaining at the hospital until 1887 and it was largely due to her efforts that the school was such a success in the early years.

The first fifteen Probationers arrived on July 9th 1860. They were paid a salary of 10 during the one year's course, with board and lodging provided. At the end of the year, if they were approved, they were entered on the Register of Certified Nurses, and employment was found for them. If they stayed in employment for a complete year after their training they could earn gratuities of 3 and 5. Instruction during the course was mainly practical, with the Probationers working in the hospital wards under close supervision. Considerable emphasis was placed on high moral character. From 1867 there were two classes of entry to the school: 1) Ordinary Probationers, who entered on the basis of a small salary and free board, as above and 2) Lady Probationers or Special probationers. These were trained specially for posts as Superintendents and Matrons of other institutions on completion of their training. They paid a sum of 30 for the year's tuition, and board and lodging.

One of the particular features of the Nightingale Training School was that nurses were trained not merely for Saint Thomas' Hospital, but with the clear intention that they be sent out in groups to other institutions to undertake nursing reform. The school had only been open two years when the first group went to Liverpool Royal Infirmary, and subsequent groups went as far as Canada and Australia, as well as to many British hospitals.

Another important and distinctive feature of the Nightingale system was that the Probationers were provided with board and lodging. When the new hospital opened in Lambeth in 1871, special provision was made for the Nightingale Home. In 1872, a Home Sister was appointed for the first time. She undertook part of the tuition, a Sister Tutor not being appointed until 1913. In 1937 Riddell House was opened as a new Nurses' Home, a present to Saint Thomas' Hospital and the Nightingale Training School by Lady Riddell, as a memorial to Lord Riddell.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of the Nightingale Training School, Saint Thomas' Hospital, 1860-1981. Administrative papers including agreements with the Nightingale Fund Council, 1860-1937; regulations for training hospital nurses, 1872-1938; Matron's reports, 1883-1949; Matron's correspondence, 1887-1978; Matron's papers relating to the Royal British Nurses Association, the College of Nursing, and the British College of Nurses, 1911-1934; papers relating to staffing, 1902-1955; papers relating to the Training School buildings, 1922-1937. Records relating to students including pupil records, 1860-1966; Nightingale Training School prospectuses, 1920-1968; Training School syllabuses, 1873-1930; duties of probationers, 1874-1937; papers regarding the admission of probationers, 1860-1930; lecture notebooks, 1873-1921; student's ward diaries, 1873-1891; examination papers, 1900-1920; samples of certificates awarded by the Training School, 1900s; Florence Nightingale's annual addresses to probationers, 1872-1900. Financial accounts, 1860-1925; programmes for special events, 1859-1965, with related correspondence and other papers; recollections of former probationers, 1860-1954; papers regarding matrons, 1866-1938, including Mrs Sarah Wardroper and Dame Alicia Lloyd Still; papers regarding Nightingale Training School nurses, 1871-1972; papers relating to the Nightingale Fellowship, 1927-1981; papers and publications regarding the history of the Training School, 1872-1971, papers regarding events and special occasions, 1935-1965. Papers of the Nightingale Fund Council, 1855-1950.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

In sections according to catalogue.

Conditions governing access:

These records are available for public inspection, although records containing personal information are subject to access restrictions under the UK Data Protection Act, 1998.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright: Depositor

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:


Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
February 2009

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