During our first days in London, we enjoyed walking under a beautiful sunny sky on and around the iconic Westminster Bridge. Across, on the east side of the Bridge, the Florence Nightingale Museum is tucked in beside the famous St Thomas Hospital — a building that Nightingale, herself, originally helped to design. While there, we reconnected with our friend and colleague Natasha McEnroe, the Museum’s Director, who is also serving to coordinate all the efforts of growing list of “Nightingale 2020 Partners” who are now planning many ways to celebrate her Bicentenary.
Then we walked across to the east side of the Bridge to enjoy an in-depth tour of Westminster Abbey, the ‘Cathedral’ where a Service Honouring Nightingale and Nurses is convened annually, near her birthday in May. While at the Abbey, we requested and were granted special permission to visit the Nursing Memorial Chapel — sited behind a tiny locked door, and up a steep winding staircase — in an small alcove high above Abbey’s ground floor.
There we found an inspired stained glass window — created to honour the sacrifice of nurses during the two World Wars. This was quite a moving moment for us as we both prayed silently — each according to our own faith traditions — for the nurses of the world and for Divine guidance to prepare NIGH’s plans to globally celebrate today’s nurses and midwives during the 2020 Nightingale Bicentenary.
We were not allowed to take pictures in the Abbey, but here, at the left, is a picture posted online, by the American Journal of Nurses, from an earlier visit to this Chapel, when such permission was granted. Thanks to AJN for making this beautiful photo available to everyone online.
All of the above other pictures are from NIGH's archives and Phalakshi Manjrekar's camera.