Back

Mary Seacole - Fundraising ball

1857

Mary Seacole newspaper article

Share

  • Intro

    Mary Seacole was a freelance nurse who worked in the Crimean War, caring for wounded British soldiers. She became a heroine of the war, her strength of character and kindness compared to that of Florence Nightingale.

     

    Born in slave-era Jamaica to a white Scottish father and free black Jamaican mother, she had learned folk medicine as a child, and in 1854 she travelled to England to help in the war effort. Not put off by rejections from the authorities, Seacole paid from her own pocket for her own voyage to the Crimea. She set up a hotel which sold supplies, medical services - and alcohol. Florence Nightingale disapproved of the alcohol, but 'Mother Seacole' and her hotel were popular with the soldiers.

     

    After the war she returned to England ill and penniless. The press highlighted her plight. In July 1857 a fund-raising festival for her attracted thousands of people, including many VIPs, and raised substantial funds. This newspaper article describes the event. Her memoirs, 'The Wonderful Adventures of Mrs Seacole in Many Lands', also proved extremely popular.

     

    Shelfmark: Saturday, December 19, 1857, The Bristol Mercury, British Library Newspaper Archive.

Explore more timeline content: