Lea Hurst was one of the homes belonging to the father of Florence
Nightingale and the family moved into the property when Florence
was about five years old. Her father, William Edward Shore,
was the great nephew
of Peter Nightingale and he added
Nightingale to his surname following the death of his great
William Adam, writing when Florence Nightingale was a young woman,
mentioned Lea Hurst.
"Passing over the small bridge [at Lea], we take the road leading
up to a long and steep hill to the village of Holloway".
"Lea Hurst, the seat of William Nightingale Esq., is embosomed
amongst the woods, to the right" (footnote).
Pevsner, whose architectural guide was first published in 1953,
described Leahurst as a "C17
gabled house with low mullioned windows, much enlarged in 1825".
Describing the house as a place of national interest because
of its association with Florence Nightingale, the 1920's Ward
Lock Guides add that "it is one of the most beautiful places
in the district. The park and grounds form a prominent feature
in the landscape from any of the surrounding hills. The Hall,
Elizabethan in style, is pleasantly situated on a sloping lawn,
surrounded by trees".
"Her balcony was a great joy to her, commanding a view of
the garden with its stone terraces massed with flowers, and of a
meadow beyond, losing itself among the trees running down to the
river. Often the sound of the Derwent was in her ears, and she greatly
recalled it one night at Scutari. There was a great storm, and suddenly
Florence Nightingale said: " How I like to hear that ceaseless
roar; it puts me in mind of the Derwent. How often I have listened
to it from the nursery window!" If ever she lived to see England
again, she wrote from the Crimea, the western breezes of her hilltop
home would be her first longing".
Below is a postcard from an oil painting by Henry
Hadfield Cubley, who lived in Matlock Bath for about twenty
On the back is printed the following:
"On a hill opposite the village of Holloway stands Lea Hurst,
an Elizabethan House, beautifully situated on the crest of the
ridge. This was at one time a residence of the famous and beloved
nurse of the Crimean wards - Miss Florence Nightingale. Continuing
along the hillside beyond it, one enjoys a fine view across the
Florence Nightingale's sister Parthenope (Lady Verney) produced
a delightful drawing of Lea Hurst which
is now hung in the room known as the Museum on the first floor
at Claydon House. The caption reads "Parthenope's drawing of Lea
Hurst, Derbyshire. Home of Florence Nightingale".
When she executed her drawing she must have sat in a very similar
position to the one later chosen by Hadfield Cubley, although the
two trees on either side of the gateway had grown up in the intervening
The final picture of Lea Hurst (below) was photographed by the
auctioneers Marchant Brooks and Co. and published in the Matlock
Mercury on 30 June 1951 in readiness for the sale of the property
on 3 July. It was taken just before a film crew assembled at
the house to shoot the last scenes of "The
Lady of the Lamp" starring Anna Neagle.
More on site information about the Nightingale family and Florence
Biographies: see NIGHTINGALE
of Arms: Description of NIGHTINGALE arms
Lea and Holloway (Kelly's 1891 Directory)
Photo of Lea Hurst amongst scanned
images from "Souvenir of Matlock Bath" can
be seen onsite