Mary Seacole was born in 1805 in Jamaica. Her mother was of African heritage and her father was a Scottish army officer. She was a ‘doctress’ who practised Creole or Afro-Caribbean medicine and learnt nursing and herbalism from her mother. In September 1854, Mary heard about the Crimean campaign and she was struck with the thought of looking after the troops she had known in Jamaica. She travelled to the Crimea and set up her own business, the British Hotel, which was a general store and also a place where soldiers could come to be nursed. She also rode out to the battlefield to nurse soldiers and would perform operations. She was affectionately known by the troops as Mother Seacole, because of the care she gave them. After returning to London after the war Mary wrote her autobiography The Wonderful Adventures of Mrs Seacole in Many Lands, which was published in 1857 and is still in print today. She continued to practice as a ‘doctress’ in London and when visiting Jamaica. She died in 1881 and was buried in the Catholic Cemetery at Kensal Rise.