History Of The Jenny Lind
Norwich was only the second city in the country to have a children’s hospital (the first was London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in 1852). A Norwich infirmary for sick children admitted its first inpatients in April 3, 1854, thanks to the generosity and goodwill of a Swedish opera singer, Jenny Lind.
More than one hundred and fifty years later the Jenny Lind Children’s Hospital at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital continues to provide treatment and care for the county’s children.
Who was Jenny Lind?
Opera singer Jenny Lind, dubbed the “Swedish Nightingale”, was one of the best known and most popular entertainers in mid-19th century Europe.
In 1847 she gave her first concerts in Norwich and they proved so popular that a third concert was arranged. Jenny Lind returned to Norwich in 1849, staying with Bishop Stanley and she gave two concerts in St Andrew’s Hall on 22 and 23 January.
The money raised from the Jenny Lind concerts were later earmarked for the purpose of an infirmary for sick children. A public meeting in 1853 unanimously endorsed the idea and in 1854 the hospital opened in Pottergate, Norwich.
(Jenny Lind portrait by O. Södermark)
A history of the Jenny Lind
University of East Anglia lecturer and children’s nurse Dr Bruce Lindsay has written a history of the Jenny Lind. The book, kindly sponsored by the Holden Group, is entitled ‘The Jenny’ A history of the Jenny Lind Hospital for Sick Children, Norwich, 1884 – 2004. It gives an insight into the life of the Jenny Lind over the last 150 years.
Dr Lindsay said: “Little has been written about the Jenny of the 19th and early 20th centuries and its history is overshadowed by those of much larger and better-known children’s hospitals. This book hopefully goes some way to redressing the balance”.