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Google Celebrates Heroic nurse Mary Seacole with Doodle by Matthew Reynolds - News - Nurses Arena Forum

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Google Celebrates Heroic nurse Mary Seacole with Doodle by Matthew Reynolds by Idowu Olabode : October 14, 2016, 05:27:44 PM
Google’s current Doodle pays tribute to Mary Seacole, a Jamaican-born nurse who, after having her offers to help rejected by the British government, took it upon herself to nurse British soldiers during the Crimean War in the 1850s.


Born in 1805 to a Jamaican mother and Scottish father, Seacole learned her nursing skills from her mother, who used traditional Caribbean herbal remedies to treat people staying at her hotel. When the Crimean War broke out in 1853, Seacole applied to the British War Office and Crimean Fund for permission to travel to the peninsula and treat the thousands of British soldiers dying of infectious diseases and wounds.



Seacole’s requests to volunteer were rejected four times, so she instead travelled to Crimea at her own expense and set up a hotel near Balaclava to treat sick soldiers. Having no government money or suitable building materials, Seacole constructed her hotel out of salvaged driftwood, abandoned metal and other items she could source from the local village.

In her autobiography, The Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole, she states she "saw much" of the Crimea’s most-famous nurse, Florence Nightingale. Nightingale had been dispatched to Crimea with the full support of the British government months before Seacole and would go on to be remembered as one of the creators of modern nursing while Seacole faded from public consciousness in the years following the war.

Seacole returned to England destitute and the British press brought the public’s attention to her plight, bringing in enough funds to keep her living in London. She went on to write a 200-page biography, published in 1857, the first ever written by a black woman in Britain.

One of the first war correspondents, The Times reporter William Howard Russell prefaced her book by writing: "I have witnessed her devotion and her courage [...] and I trust that England will never forget one who has nursed her sick, who sought out her wounded to aid and succour them and who performed the last offices for some of her illustrious dead."


Seacole died in 1881 and has been overshadowed by Nightingale in popular memory, despite winning a 2004 poll of the British public who voted her the greatest black Briton of all time.

A statute honouring Seacole was erected at St Thomas’ Hospital in London earlier this year.

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