Last Updated 20 Jun 2022

Mary Seacole

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Mary Seacole Mary Seacole was born in 1805, in Jamaica. She nursed soldiers during the Crimean war which started in 1854. Her mother was Jamaican and her dad, a Scottish soldier. Her mother was also a nurse and used herbs for medicines and treatments. At the age of 12, she had already started to behave like a nurse because of the help she provided to her mother with the sick and wounded. When she was older, Mary opened a hotel in Jamaica to help care for the sick. Mary wanted to help those soldiers involved in conflict in Europe.

She travelled to England in the UK but no one was interested in taking up her offer to help the ill and wounded soldiers. She instead stayed in England, paying her own fares and eventually setting up another hotel. There, she sold goods and clothing for the soldiers in the hotel. She would cook, clean and care for the soldiers. Mary tried to enlist her help for the Crimean war but was not chosen by Florence Nightingale who was in charge of caring for the wounded. Mary instead travelled to the battlefield alone (covering 4,000 miles).

She helped on the battlefield, sometimes even during cannon fire. Mary cared for the men very lovingly. The wounded men loved Mary and called her ‘Mother Seacole’. Florence Nightingale was unimpressed by Mary Seacole's work in Crimea, and accused her of intoxicating soldiers and running a brothel. If you ask someone ‘Do you know who Mary Seacole is? ’ they might say ‘No’ this is because Florence Nightingale got more recognition than Mary Seacole. Mary Seacole did just as much as Florence Nightingale, which is why, I think Mary Seacole should have a day to be remembered.

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