Nursing & Midwifery

Mary Seacole, 1805-1881

Display No. 29

Mary Seacole was a British-Jamaican business woman and ‘doctress’ who set up the British Hotel during the Crimean War. She provided herbal remedies to aid sick and convalescent officers. In 1856, William Howard Russell, a Times journalist described her as:

“a warm and successful physician, who doctors and cures all manner of men with extraordinary success. She is always in attendance near the battlefield to aid the wounded and has earned many a poor fellow’s blessing.”

Contrary to popular belief, Nightingale admired Seacole’s bravery and contributed to her benevolent fund at the end of the Crimean War.

Mary Seacole
by Albert Charles Challen
oil on panel, 1869
NPG 6856
© National Portrait Gallery, London

Exhibits from ‘Nursing & Midwifery’.

Discover the 200 Exhibits

Nightingale is respected worldwide for her pioneering role in developing the nursing profession, her statistical work, and her evidence-based approach to healthcare. In honour of her bicentenary the World Health Organisation have named 2020 the Year of the Nurse and Midwife.

In our special exhibition, you will find out about objects, people and places which tell interesting stories about Florence’s life and legacy. You’ll discover artefacts from her life, people she both inspired and challenged, and places she helped to shape. There’s many more insights too!

Please click on the different sections of her famous coxcomb diagram to explore various aspects of her life and legacy. We hope you enjoy exploring!