Bust of Black Victorian Heroine Mary Seacole to Go to Auction

Interesting little snippet on Black British history and heritage in today’s I, for Saturday, 25th July 2020. A bust of Mary Seacole, a Victorian heroine who independently went to nurse the squaddies during the Crimean War, is due to go to auction. The I’s article reports

A bust of a heroine of the Crimean War who was voted the greatest black Briton is to go under the hammer. Mary Seacole, who rivalled Florence Nightingale for her feats in the war, was the daughter of a Scottish soldier and Jamaican mother and born in 1805. A terracotta half bust will be sold on 30th July. It is estimated to fetch between £700 and £1,000.

She’s now all but forgotten, except in the Black community but the crowds that greeted her at one point were as large as for Florence Nightingale. There have been programmes about her. Radio 4 did one a few years ago, and I think last year there was a TV programme about the campaign by a group of nurses, both Black and White, to have a bust of her erected in her honour. The programme was shown as part of a series on Black British history.

She’s not without some controversy, however. Some historians state that she didn’t primarily go to Crimea to nurse – that was incidental – but to open a hotel, which she did. Even so, she is a highly significant figure in Black British history and it’ll be interesting to see what happens with this story and any subsequent attempts to restore her to her former prominence.

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One Response to “Bust of Black Victorian Heroine Mary Seacole to Go to Auction”

  1. Joanna Woolston Says:

    If i had the money I would buy and on a plinth vacated by a former slave owner then lots more people could enjoy seeing it!!
    I am not black, but you don’t have to be to suffer discrimination like I have all my life, I was even treat like a criminal yet I never broke the law and now it’s the rubbish mental health the discriminates a persons life.
    The best thing about the phone call I got it was recorded!!! I don’t mind people knowing it might help them in the future if this should happen to them!!
    Take care and stay safe Peeps!!!

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