Seacole - Nursing Pioneer
Back to 1881
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
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
French Legion of Honour.