We have been asked by Dr Mike Howe, Chief Curator and Head of the National Geological Repository for help in locating rocks, minerals and fossils owned by Florence Nightingale. This is Mike’s message and request for help:
I have recently heard from Jane Middleton-Smith, Archive manager for John Smedley Ltd, Lea Mills, Lea Bridge, Matlock, Derbyshire. She is trying to locate a collection of rocks, minerals and fossils donated by Florence Nightingale to Lea School (Derbyshire) in 1881. (The Nightingale Family was a prominent family in the local area; 2020 is the bicentenary of Florence’s birth.)
The fine quality specimens were purchased from a ‘Mr Butler’ (possibly Francis H Butler?) and sent to Mr Burton, the Schoolmaster. Apparently, Burton had a case made and gave lectures on geology to the children and to the local Institute.
The collection has disappeared – almost certainly prior to the 1960s. The present staff of the school have never heard of it. Jane has contacted all of the obvious places: Buxton and Derby Museums and the Derbyshire Record Office and drawn a blank. Can anyone help?
If you can help Mike, please contact him by email at: [email protected].