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The London home of pioneering Jamaican healer, Mary Seacole, has been marked with one of English Heritage’s prestigious blue plaques.
The plaque, which was unveiled on Thursday (Nov. 29) at a ceremony at the house at Soho Square in Westminster, describes Mrs. Seacole as a “heroine of the Crimean War”.
The house is in fact one of several places in London where Mary Seacole lived during her time there and is the only one that has survived until today. The very plaque mounted at Soho Square previously adorned Mrs. Seacole’s earlier address at George Street in Marylebone before its demolition.
The Soho Square address was where Mrs. Seacole lived after her return from the Crimean War and at the time of the publication of ‘The Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands’, the first autobiography written by a black woman in Britain.
The ceremony was attended by Jamaican High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Burchell Whiteman and Mrs. Whiteman; Britain’s Minister for Culture, Margaret Hodge; Councillor Frances Blois representing the Office of The Lord Mayor of Westminster; Vice-Chair of the Mary Seacole Memorial Statue Appeal, Professor Elizabeth Anionwu; Co-editor of the re-release of Seacole’s autobiography, Ziggi Alexander; Chair of the Mary Seacole Memorial Statue Appeal’s Artist Selection Panel, Baroness Valerie Amos, as well as representatives of the Mary Seacole Memorial Association, and many others.
To coincide with the unveiling of the plaque, the Florence Nightingale Museum has opened a display devoted to Mary Seacole’s life and contribution to the nursing care of British soldiers during the Crimean War.
English Heritage has managed the blue plaque scheme since 1986. Plaques have since been issued to commemorate the achievements of a vast range of figures from different countries, cultures and backgrounds including late former Prime Minister and historian, Sir Winston Churchill; American musician, Jimi Hendrix; crime fiction writer, Agatha Christie, and Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist, Sigmund Freud.
The residence of another legendary Jamaican, Bob Marley, was commemorated with a plaque last year.Mary Seacole was recently voted greatest ever black Briton in an online poll.