Florence Nightingale Sculpture Unveiled at £60M Former Military Hospital
Working with local Hampshire sculptor Amy Goodman, Weston Homes is delighted to honour Florence Nightingale’s legacy in Aldershot with a special bronze bust which will stand on a stone plinth at the front of the former Cambridge Military Hospital, now converted into new homes forming part of the wider Gun Hill Park residential development.
To celebrate the unveiling, on the 7th October, the local community in Aldershot were invited to see the sculpture and meet Amy along with Chairman & Chief Executive of Weston Homes Bob Weston.
Amy Goodman, a highly accomplished Equestrian and Figurative sculptor based at Project Workshops in Hampshire has been an ‘Artist in Residence’ at Winchester University since 2013. Amy is familiar and proficient with a diversity of materials and scales and in this instance, in collaboration with Weston Homes, chose to work with bronze to best depict Florence Nightingale and to ensure the piece would stand the test of time, the new artwork honouring Nightingale’s role in the creation of the Cambridge Military Hospital.
Amy was inspired by reading about Florence Nightingale’s life, and the photographs taken of her by William Edward Kilburn in c.1856 and Claudius Erskine Goodman in c.1858. Amy wished to capture Florence’s poise, kindness, intelligence, and strength that is visible in those portraits, in her own work. The plinth on which Florence sits is made of a traditional and high-quality Portland stone, often used for memorials and commemorative sculpture. The elegant inscription is hand carved by talented memorial artist Maya Martin. The plinth is shaped to echo the architecture of the magnificent building she now stands in front of, The Cambridge Building at Gun Hill Park.
Florence Nightingale was influential in the design of the magnificent Grade II listed Cambridge Military Hospital, now known as The Cambridge forming the centrepiece of Gun Hill Park, which has been transformed into 74 luxurious apartments and houses. The Cambridge was originally built in 1875-79 as the main hospital building, designed to resemble a grand stately home. The Cambridge was built by local firm Martin Wells & Co in an Italianate neo-classical style based on design principles championed by Florence Nightingale, under the auspices of Queen Victoria, who wanted Britain’s soldiers to be given good treatment in quality accommodation, hence the magnificent architecture.
The Cambridge was built on a hill, known as Gun Hill, because Florence Nightingale believed that the fresh air at the summit would help sweep away any infection. As a result of this raised location, The Cambridge, which has a 109 feet tall central clock tower, inspired by the clocktower at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, is a local landmark that is visible from many miles away. The exceptionally high ceilings, large windows and wide corridors of the building are also reflections of her design principles to make hospitals a place of healing, both physical and mental.
Amy Goodman has two other sculptures in the vicinity of Gun Hill Park where the sculpture of Florence Nightingale has been unveiled. The jump ready ‘Airborne soldier’ unveiled in 2019 in the Princes Gardens is mounted on a block of granite from Mount Longdon, the scene of a key battle involving the Parachute Regiment during the Falklands War. The ‘Gurkha Memorial’ also very recently unveiled in Princes Gardens, highlights the special relationship between the Gurkhas and the British for over 200 years. It depicts first Gurkha Victoria Cross recipient, Kulbir Thapa rescuing a British Tommy from the Leicestershire regiment, in 1915. Amy’s other key public works include the ‘Romsey War Horse’, and ‘Arborfield Horses’, among others.
Amy Goodman says “”I am so thrilled to have been given the opportunity to sculpt Florence Nightingale. She’s such an inspiring and iconic woman who was ahead of her time in so many ways. I wanted to capture her in my own way, whilst taking inspiration from artists before me who had the privilege of meeting her in person, as the strong ground-breaking woman that she was and hope that this statue will allow for the continuation of her legacy in Aldershot.”
Bob Weston, Chairman & Chief Executive of Weston Homes, says “Florence Nightingale was not only influential in her time as the founder of modern nursing but was also significant in the design behind the Cambridge Military Hospital. It seemed only right to us that, whilst making sure the building itself was restored in a way to reflect its history, we also paid tribute to her through commissioning this statue by Amy Goodman. We are delighted with Amy’s work and are sure that the residents at Gun Hill Park and the surrounding community will admire it for years to come.”
Around The Cambridge are other converted and newly built homes creating a £60 million (GDV) residential address providing 140 luxurious homes for private sale. To market Gun Hill Park, Weston Homes has created a stunning ‘must visit’ marketing suite and three-bedroom showroom in The Cambridge. A wide range of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments as well as two, three and four-bedroom houses start from £299,000.