JIS News

The United Kingdom (UK) Home Office has named one of the buildings, which comprise its new headquarters, after Jamaican born nurse, Mary Seacole.
She is one of the three pioneers that the new building is named for, who have had an impact on British life within areas of the Home Office’s responsibilities – policing, crime reduction, criminal justice, offender management and diversity.
The Home Office’s three blocks, which open next week, will bear the names of Mary Seacole, Robert Peel, the Founder of the Metropolitan Police, and prison reformer, Elizabeth Fry.
A Home Office release said Sir Terry Farrell, architect of the MI6 HQ and Charing Cross Station, designed the new headquarters to have a positive impact on those living and working in the area. Mary Seacole was a pioneering nurse and heroine of the Crimean War. She was born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1805. In 1854 she travelled to England and approached the war office to work as an army nurse in the Crimea.
Miss Seacole was rejected because of her ethnicity and so funded her own trip to the Crimea, where she nursed the wounded and established the British Hotel near Balaclava to provide quarters for sick and convalescent officers.
On Tuesday (January 25), a series of activities to mark her bicentennial was launched in London at the Guys and St. Thomas Hospital.
The South African High Commissioner, Lindiwe Mabuzaq, who was the guest speaker, said Mary Seacole was an amazing woman.
She said had the story of Miss Seacole been more widely known, it could have served as an inspiration to all women.
The bicentennial activities begin in May with a series of exhibitions at the Florence Nightingale Museum. There will be a Mary Seacole bicentenary education forum on ‘Diversity, Cultural Understanding, History of Nursing for the 21st Century’.
Last week a long lost portrait of Mary Seacole went on display at the National Portrait Gallery.

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