This week, another celebrity welcomed a daughter named Florence – this time it was Mr. Jake Humphrey, who gave up his job as BBC’s F1 guy when his wife fell pregnant with their first child. Her full name is Florence Aurelia Alice, and you only need to take a quick glance at Jake’s twitter feed to see how smitten he is with his new bundle of joy.
The name Florence is experiencing somewhat of a boom at the moment here in England, which the tabloids are only too eager to attribute to one Miss. Florence Welch of Florence + the Machine fame. Their first album, Lungs, hit the shelves in 2009, the year that Florence climbed 14 places to #80, however it was the year before that Florence entered the Top 100 in England&Wales, suggesting the name was on the way up before Florence Welch truly arrived on the scene.
That doesn’t mean that she didn’t inspire any parents to use the name, as since 2009 the name Florence has only risen further up the charts. In 2011 – the most recent year we have data for – she rose a further 11 places to #43. It will be interesting to see where her meteoric rise will have her peak in the charts, although at the moment I’m not entirely convinced that she’ll go all the way to #1.
The name Florence originates from the Latin word florens, which means flourishing. The word florens itself comes from the word florere, which means to bloom, giving Florence a strained botanical link.
Variants include Florentia and Florentina, both used circa the Roman times, and there are plenty of saints to prove that point.
A small fact I appear to have neglected to mention is the simple fact that I often answer to a common nickname for Florence in my family household, as opposed to either Lucy or Lou, that nickname being Flossie. It”s never really been explained to me where the nickname came from, my father being just as delightfully random as me.
That said, the books surrounding the Bobbsey Twins are more than likely to be the source.
But whilst I’m particularly fond of the nickname Flossie, I’ve mostly found myself indifferent to Florence. True, she’s the name of what I’m told is a marvellous Italian city, and of course the world famous namesake of Florence Nightingale owes her name to the city.
No doubt many people regard Florence Nightingale as a fantastic lady, although my sister seriously contends that Mary Seacole did finer work. The Nightingale/Seacole debate is a curious one, with arguments including the fact that Seacole is promoted in favour of Nightingale as an attempt to promote multiculturalism, given that Seacole was a Jamaican lady. Personally, I don’t think that it can be ignored that Florence Nightingale was an amazing pioneer when it came to public health and nursing.
Still, that doesn’t seem to bother the 1400 or so parents who welcomed a daughter named Florence in 2011, nor parents of a Florence born in previous years.