Early spoken word recordings

In aid of the Light Brigade Relief Fund

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  • Recording locations

    Florence Nightingale's house, 10 South Street, Park Lane (London), England, UK

  • Speakers

    Nightingale, Florence, 1820-1910

  • Description

    The recording, of Nightingale's famous speech in support of the Light Brigade Relief Fund, was made in response to a public scandal that erupted in May 1890. It was discovered that many veterans of the charge of the Light Brigade were destitute, but the Secretary for War stated in Parliament that he could not offer assistance. The St. James's Gazette therefore set up the Light Brigade Relief Fund and, in support, Colonel Gouraud, Edison's representative in Britain, arranged to make three sound recordings: Alfred Lloyd Tennyson reading The Charge of the Light Brigade on 15 May 1890; Martin Lanfried [aka Kenneth Landfrey], trumpeter and veteran, sounding the charge as heard at Balaclava, on 2 August 1890; Florence Nightingale, delivering a message to the veterans, recorded on 30 July 1890 at her home on 10 South Street, Park Lane, London The Wellcome Library's original wax cylinder [donated to the BL in 2006?] features two recordings made by Nightingale reading the same speech. The second reading was first produced commercially in 1935 on a 78rpm disc but it did not feature her first attempt where she stumbles on her words and there is a long pause between the sentences. Ferguson introduces Nightingale, who says 'When I am no longer even a memory, just a name, I hope my voice may perpetuate the great work of my life. God bless my dear old comrades of Balaclava and bring them safe to shore. Florence Nightingale.' This message is repeated.

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