Mary Jane Seacole was born in Jamaica in 1805 her father was a scottish soldier her mother was Jamaican. Seacole learned her nursing skills from her mother. In 1854 she travelled to England and approached the war office asking to be sent as an army nurse to the crimea. Seacole was refused however, she went anyway. Once there she established the British hotel near Balaclava to provide comfortable quarters for sick and convalescent officers. Seacole nursed the wounded on the battlefield sometimes under fire.
Mary Jane Seacole has a statue opposite the houses of parliament in the grounds of St Thomas hospital. The statue is inscribed with the words written in 1857 by the times crimean war correspondent, Sir William Howard Russell ‘I trust that England will not forget one who nursed her sick, who sought out her wounded to aid and succour them, and who performed the last officers for some of her illustrious dead.’
Tottenham MP David Lamy said that the statue was a seminal moment for Londoners and the black community particularly.