The Mary Seacole Memorial will:
- capture the spirit of Mary and reflect her great achievements
- remind the public of the importance of the nursing profession
- remind the public of Britain's greatest black heroine who gave her life's work in support of others
With approximately £343,000 received in donations and sponsorships and planning permission obtained from Lambeth Council we now need to secure the remaining £120,000.
In 2008 an artist selection panel, chaired by Baroness Amos and featuring some of the country's leading cultural experts, undertook the task to select an artist to design and produce the memorial. Following an international call for artists, a wealth of work was submitted and reviewed, and a final shortlist of eight artists was agreed. Shortlisted artists exhibited their proposals at Coutts in the Strand in April 2009 and later at the Guards Museum in Birdcage Walk, London. After much debate the chosen artist, Martin Jennings, was announced in June 2009.
The charitable arm of Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd has committed its support for construction. The Guys and St.Thomas' Hospital NHS Foundation Trust have donated the site for the memorial, which is within the grounds of St Thomas' Hospital. We already have the support of many, including the Jamaican High Commission, The Mayor of London, The Royal College of Nursing, UNISON, Unite, NHS Employers, NHS Confederation and a number of army units.
With your support we will erect a memorial that will bring the achievements of this remarkable woman to life.
Cleo Sylvestre as Mary Seacole Photo Chris King
Mary Seacole sketch
"When Mary Seacole nursed the sick and wounded on the front line in the Crimea she did not ask for, or expect any reward. She did it for the British troops, who she loved and admired. They responded in equal generosity to the person they called "Mother Seacole".
Mary Seacole was not a person to duck a challenge. She broke the race barrier to win the hearts and minds of the British people. She is a wonderful example of an individual who was determined to make a difference. She did so with the force of her personality and her untiring entrepreneurial spirit. This is why she remains such a powerful role model in today's vibrant and diverse society.
I am asking for your help to repay our debt to Mary: to celebrate her life and achievements by erecting a memorial to her in the grounds of St Thomas' Hospital, London.
The chosen work of art by Martin jennings, the internationally acclaimed sculptor, will be an important addition to the vibrant cultural landscape on the South Bank, sited near Westminster Bridge, facing the Houses of Parliament.
With the granting of planning permission by Lambeth Council, I am confident that this is an exciting and unique opportunity for benefactors. Please help to make this dream a reality. It is 150 years overdue and it will be an inspiration to Modern Britain."
Lord Soley of Hammersmith, Chair of the Trustees
"Mary Seacole's inspiration to us lies in her courage to be true to an inner conviction, despite the glaring force of uncomfortable opposition. By remembering and honouring her, we acknowledge that what we believe in can become reality."
Sir Willard White, Opera Singer
"Mary Seacole's exploits, trials and accolades deserve to be remembered and commemorated by new generations. The host community owes her a great debt, as was fulsomely recorded at the time and this must not be forgotten. Young black people, now more than ever, need to know about the outstanding black characters and their important contributions in recent history. Her memory and that of the countless nurses, doctors and health workers who heeded the call, deserve recognition and praise. Her story should not be forgotten. It should stand as a reminder to everyone of the unstinting and valuable contribution that countless unheralded West Indians made and continue to make to the enrichment of life in the United Kingdom."
Juliet Alexander, Broadcaster
"She represents for me the ideal of nursing: the empathy needed to care for a patient or their family and the knowledge to manage their pain and meet their needs. She had great expertise, an insatiable desire to learn and by all accounts a wonderful, warm, sense of humour. I think that we have a duty to remember her deeds. When people hear about her story there is amazement, a willingness to do something about celebrating her great achievements and remarkable strength. Nursing care, of the type that Mary Seacole gave - informed, skilled and generous - should be celebrated."
Professor Elizabeth Anionwu, Fellow of the Royal College of Nursing
"I grew up hearing about Mary Seacole and the work she did during the war, tending the sick and wounded. All done on her own and without much help. As a woman of colour she never allowed obstacles against her race and gender to stand in the way of what she set out to do. My generation of young Jamaican women could look to her as a role model of what can be accomplished with steely determination against the face of all odds. I am therefore pleased to support the work to recognize her in having her statue mounted at St. Thomas' Hospital to honour her work."
Her Excellency The Honourable Aloun Ndombet-Assamba, Jamaican High Commissioner, United Kingdom