Helen Margaret Nightingale (?-1921) Little is known of Nightingale apart from her two romantic novels Savile Gilchrist M.D. (1906) and The Choir at Newcommon Road (1909) together with the collected poems The Men in Blue and Other Poems, which were published in her memory in Reigate in 1922. Many of the poems were first published in the ‘Gazette of the 3rd L.G.H’, most deal with the war, including one titled ‘Demobilised’, which suggests that Nightingale worked as a nursing auxiliary: “Never more Shall stand outside the Matron’s door, And wonder if my cap is straight” Two other poems refer to the nursing and recovery of her (female) lover. A Change of Tenant was published with the author accredited as a ‘Miss H. M. Nightingale’, but it has often gone unrecognised. It was published by the Woman Citizen Publishing Company and is undated though the Bodleian Library gives it as 1908. Originally entered as a work by ‘anonymous’ at The British Library and recorded with the author as H. M. Nightingale in The Players Library (British Drama League,1950). The play was toured by the AFL in 1910 and produced by other suffrage organisations. Elizabeth Crawford records that the feminist and novelist Isabella Ford performed in a production of A Change of Tenant at the Leeds Women’s Suffrage Society. The AFL Report of 1909-1910 lists productions of A Change of Tenant for the Sevenoaks Branch of the National Union for Women’s Suffrage, (along with Cicely Hamilton’s Pot and Kettle and How the Vote was Won) and another production at Battersea Arts Centre. On 21st April 1911, it was performed in aid of the NUWS, with Graham Moffat’s The Maid and the Magistrate.
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