Mary Seacole the Black nurse visited Brighton and mentions it in her book, saying that the Journey across Panama by train was as smooth as the journey from London to Brighton. Her best selling autobiography, entitled ‘Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands’, was first published in 1857.
Mary Seacole was born Mary Jane Grant in Kingston, Jamaica in 1805. She was a businesswoman, traveller, gold prospector, writer and nurse. Her father was a Scottish army officer, and her mother a descendant of African Slaves.
It was her nursing skills that Mary used to good effect in the Crimean war (1855-1856) tending to the wounded servicemen there.
One soldier wrote in his memoirs: “She was a wonderful woman, all the men swore by her, and in case of any malady, would seek her advice and use her herbal medicines in preference to reporting themselves to their own doctors. That she did affect some cure is beyond doubt, and her never failing presence amongst the wounded after a battle and assisting them”.
At the end of the war, she came back to London and became a ‘media star’, due to her widely acclaimed work, which had been fully reported in the London newspapers.
Her autobiography became a best seller and went into its second printing within 12