“But Matron, there’s been a mistake! I said I wanted to go to the cinema!”

On the 21st October 1854, in a typo that was to have world-changing effects on the global understanding of medicine and patients, Florence Nightingale accidentally wrote to her matron requesting leave to go “to the crimea”: Nightingale meant to request leave “to go to the cinema”, but hospitals being as efficient as they were in the 19th century she was packed off to Russia before anyone could acknowledge the mistake.

On the journey there Nightingale complained bitterly through day and night about the administrative error, prompting the nurse in the bunk next to her to exclaim “Flo, we’re going and that’s that. There’s no turning back now, so you’re going to have to like it or lump it”. Choosing emphatically to “lump it”, Nightingale earned herself her still famous nickname, ‘The Lady with the Lump’.


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