Mary Seacole is, without a doubt
one of the unsung heroines of British History. She was one of the
Two famous women who aided British Troops in the Crimea. Her Contemporary,
Florence Nightingale has been lionised and is renowned and celebrated to
this day. Mary Seacole however today remains largely forgotten.
Mary heard of the collapse of the British nursing system in the Crimea and headed for London in 1845. She applied to the War Office to offer her series as a nurse, however she was turned down she believed the reason to be colour prejudice.
Nor discouraged she funded her own trip to the Crimea
where she immediately set about tending to the sick and wounded.
She set up her own store where she sold medicines and supplies. She
became a favourite with the troops despite her race.
She was a wonderful woman.... all the men swore by her, and in case of any malady , would seek her advise and use her herbal medicines, in preference to reporting themselves to their own doctors. That she did effect some cure is beyond doubt, and her never failing presence amongst the wounded after a battle and assisting them made her beloved buy the rank and file of the whole army'
After the war she retained to England destitute and in ill health, the times brought hr condition to the attention of the public.
A letter asked:
'While the benevolent deeds of
Florence Nightingale are being handed down for posterity ...are the humble
actions of Mrs Seacole to be entirely forgotten?'
Well wishers, who included Lord Rokeby and Lord George Paget, who were both Commanders in the Crimea organised a benefit for Mary Hich lasted Four days, and was held in the Royal Surreyn Gardedns in Kennington. Over 1000 artist performed.
Mary Seacole wrote her Autobiography entitled 'The wonderful adventure of Mrs Seacole in many lands' and is a thoroughly detailed and informative read.
She lived Prosperously for the rest of her life and died
on 14 May 1881 and left over £2,500 in her will which was a very
reasonable sum in those days. Her grave can be found at St May's
Catholic Cemetery in Harrow Rd, London. If you are in the Area pay
her a visit to ensure a real British Heroine is not forgotten.