Edward, Prince of Wales, pays a Royal Visit to Holloway to lay the Foundation Stone of the Florence
About this image
Prince Edward was at this time Prince of Wales, oldest son of King George V. Within 4 years of this photograph he would become King Edward VIII, briefly, before abdicating his throne over his desire to marry his divorced mistress Wallace Simpson (with whom he would have been involved with when this picture was taken). Note the distinct informality of the picture compared to other earlier royal visit photographs on this web site, here he is walking in close proximity to the crowds (which seems to mainly comprise of adoring women). He is visiting Holloway to lay the Foundation Stone of the Florence Nightingale Memorial Hall. Florence Nightingale was born 1820, the daughter of a Derbyshire landowner and industrialist, revolutionised nursing to become the most famous woman of the millennium. During the Crimean war, she became the legendary 'Lady of the lamp', whose shadow the sick soldiers kissed as she passed through their wards. She was however, a powerful organiser and strict disciplinarian who worked tirelessly to improve conditions. Although she spent much of her time in London, she retained her connections in Holloway and set up reading rooms at Whatstandwell and Holloway. She provided books for Lea Primary school and provided the services of a doctor for the village poor. Once a year, star pupils of the school were invited to tea at Lea Hurst. After the death of her father in 1874, she nursed her mother at Lea Hurst, Holloway, until her death in 1880. During this period, she supervised improvements to the water supply and drainage before returned to London where she died in relative obscurity in 1910. Although many features of the Nightingale estate remain in the villages of Lea and Holloway, none are open to the public.