AN ORIGINAL letter by Florence Nightingale unearthed in a university’s archives is to be displayed for the first time.

The hand-written note from 1872, which was discovered in near-pristine condition at the University of Chichester, describes the nursing pioneer’s poor health following her return from the Crimean War.

In the letter, a 62-year-old Nightingale gives her full support to a campaign led by the Suffragettes and activist Louisa Hubbard to create a female teacher-training college on the south coast – now the University of Chichester.

The Argus: First page of original hand-written note from 1872First page of original hand-written note from 1872

The letter, which bears Nightingale’s distinctive signature, is to be displayed in the university’s school of nursing and allied health, which opened last year.

Head of the School Dr Nita Muir, herself an experienced registered nurse, said that now more than ever can Nightingale’s legacy be felt across the world.

She said: “The letter epitomises all that Nightingale stood for – boundless compassion for the right causes and championing social reform.

The Argus: Second page of the letter which supports the foundation of what is now the University of ChichesterSecond page of the letter which supports the foundation of what is now the University of Chichester

"It is a remarkable find and is completely unspoiled, despite spending the last 140 years in an old scrapbook which belonged to the famed women’s rights campaigner Louisa Hubbard.”

Nightingale, who was born in 1820, is known as the mother of modern nursing with her revolutionary reforms which made hospitals more organised and cleaner.

The Lady of the Lamp writes in the discovered letter sent to Ms Hubbard: “In the crush and drive of ever increasing and pressing business and of ever increasing illness (I am entirely a prisoner to my room) – will you excuse a too thoro reply to your questions?

“To supply some of our School mistresses from among poor gentlewomen with the view of carrying arising rustic young girls and town and village children better family habits by way of example in one of the most useful plans I know – and will be of inconceivable advantage, if sensibly carried out, not only to the Schools but to the gentlewomen – I hope, trust and believe that it will succeed.

“I wish you God speed with all my heart and soul – and pray believe me, Madam, (Tho' in great press of business and illness), ever your faithful servant, Florence Nightingale.”

The letter will be unveiled at an event marking International Nursing Day on Thursday.