Mary Seacole - Nursing Pioneer

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Mary Seacole 1805-1881 Born Kingston, Jamaica, the daughter of a Jamaican mulatto and a Scottish soldier, Mary Jane Grant learned nursing from her mother at a boarding house for invalid soldiers. 

Mary travelled extensively in the Caribbean and Central America as well as visiting Britain and she took the opportunity to learn local medical techniques and practices wherever she went.  Many years later she recorded her findings in the a book called The Wonderful Adventures of Mrs Seacole in Many Lands, published in 1857.

Married in 1836 to Edwin Seacole but he died very soon afterwards.  In 1854 she approached the English war office and asked to be sent to the Crimea as an army nurse but she was refused even an interview because of her colour. So she funded her own trip to the battlefields where she established hotel near Balaclava in which she could look after convalescing soldiers.

After the war, in spite of ill health, she returned to England where she was hailed as a heroine and was awarded several medals including the French Legion of Honour.