Model of Mary Seacole statue on public view

Posted on Thursday 24 October 2013

A quarter scale model of the planned statue in memory of pioneering nurse Mary Seacole will be on view in Central Hall, St Thomas’, on Tuesday 29 October from 12 noon to 4pm.

Mary Seacole was Jamaican born of Scottish-Creole descent. She set up a 'British Hotel' behind the lines during the Crimean War, which helped wounded servicemen on the battlefield. She was posthumously awarded the Jamaican Order of Merit in 1991, and in 2004 she was voted the greatest black Briton.

The viewing will give patients, public, and staff a preview of the commissioned statue, which will be unveiled in 2015. It will stand in the gardens of St Thomas’ Hospital facing the Houses of Parliament.

The sculptor, Martin Jennings FRBS, will be present to describe his recent visit to the Crimea where he took an impression of the ground where the British Hotel stood. The impression will be used to create the disc that stands behind the statue. Martin Jennings is an internationally respected sculptor who created the Sir John Betjeman statue in St Pancras International railway station and the Philip Larkin statue in Hull.

Lord Clive Soley of Hammersmith, Chair of the Mary Seacole Memorial Statue Appeal, says: “It has been an honour to chair this committee and champion this remarkable woman. Mary Seacole was a wonderful example of a caring and compassionate woman with a determination to succeed and serve the soldiers she so loved and admired. Her courage and entrepreneurial skill enabled her to overcome the many obstacles that stood in her way. She stands as a great testimony to the way Britain became the nation that it is today. She serves as a role model for many young people today.”

Sir Hugh Taylor, Chairman of the Trust, says: "Mary Seacole was a pathfinder for the generations of people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds who have served the NHS over the years and she remains a positive role model for the current generation. The Trust is proud to be hosting the statue, not least because it speaks to the diversity of our local population, our patients and the staff who work here.”

Martin Jennings says: “Mary Seacole was a pioneer battlefield nurse. Intrepid and courageous, she was hugely popular among the soldiers she served. I am greatly honoured to have been asked to make a monument to this heroic figure and to help establish in perpetuity the name of someone who set so proud an example in the history of nursing.”

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