Sherry McBain (uniform) and Anne Watkins
Close this search box.

History of the Foundation

Florence Nightingale  is one of the world’s most famous nurse and her influence and legacy continue to have an effect throughout the world today.

When Florence died in 1910 at 90, the international nursing community of the time wished to pay tribute to the life and work of this great nurse. At the 1912 International Council of Nurses (ICN) Congress in Cologne, Ethel Bedford Fenwick, the ICN’s first President, in her speech at the final banquet proposed that “an appropriate memorial to Florence Nightingale be instituted”. She envisaged an educational foundation which would enable nurses “to prepare themselves most fitly to follow in her footsteps”.

In 1934 the Florence Nightingale International Foundation was formed, and gradually evolved to become the Florence Nightingale Foundation we are today.

Officers and Trustees
The Florence Nightingale Commemoration Service
Annual Reports
Our Priorities
Environmental, Social & Governance statement
Events and Webinars
The Nightingale Fund
Memorandum and Articles of Association

"…to prepare themselves most fitly to follow in her footsteps"



Florence Nightingale dies aged 90. As one of the world’s most famous nurses, her legacy and influence continues to have an effect throughout the world today.


The International Council of Nurses (ICN) proposes the formation of the Florence Nightingale Memorial Committee.


World War I


The Florence Nightingale Memorial Committee is activated by the ICN Grand Council in Montreal.


The Committee reports back to the ICN with the proposal that the memorial should take the form of a foundation for the post-graduate education of nurses and that national Florence Nightingale committees should be set up in the countries of ICN member associations.


The British National Florence Nightingale Memorial Committee (NFNMC) is set up making use of courses run by the newly formed Florence Nightingale International Foundation (FNIF), a collaboration between the ICN and the British Red Cross Society.


World War II


The National Florence Nightingale Memorial Committee of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is formally constituted.


The FNIF, whilst retaining its own Trust Deed and Endowment Fund, becomes the Florence Nightingale Education Division of the ICN.


On 1st January 1957 HRH Princess Alexandra became the Royal Patron.


The first annual Florence Nightingale Memorial service was held at Westminster Abbey, now the Florence Nightingale Commemoration Service.

Each year The Lamp is carried by a nominated scholar of the Foundation and is kept in the Nurses and Florence Nightingale Chapel, Westminster Abbey.


The National Florence Nightingale Memorial Committee is renamed The Florence Nightingale Foundation.


A world-wide commemoration of the bicentenary of Florence’s birth to help increase the profile of nursing and midwifery and promote the recognition the professions deserves.


The launch of the Florence Nightingale Foundation Academy at the House of Lords, London.