Our BH team member, Chelsea Allcock, has spent the day volunteering at the Mary Seacole Memorial Garden in Leeds. The Frenkel Topping Group has agreed to fund the maintenance of Mary Seacole’s iconic statue in London as well as the memorial garden dedicated to her in Leeds. Bidwell Henderson are proud to take part in the restoration of the Mary Seacole Memorial Garden ready for it re-opening on the 29th of October.

As part of the Frenkel Topping Group, we are extremely proud to support them in charitable events and we look forward to aiding them more in the future.

About Mary Seacole

Seacole was a pioneering nurse and heroine of the Crimean War, who as a woman of mixed race overcame a double prejudice.

Mary Jane Grant was born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1805. Her father was a Scottish soldier, and her mother a Jamaican. Mary learned nursing skills from her mother, although technically ‘free’, being of mixed race, Mary and her family had few civil rights – they could not vote, hold public office or enter the professions. In 1836, Mary married Edwin Seacole but the marriage was short-lived as he died in 1844.

Seacole was an inveterate traveller, and before her marriage visited other parts of the Caribbean, including Cuba, Haiti and the Bahamas, as well as Central America and Britain. On these trips she complemented her knowledge of traditional medicine with European medical ideas. In 1854, Seacole travelled to England again, and approached the War Office, asking to be sent as an army nurse to the Crimea where there was known to be poor medical facilities for wounded soldiers. She was refused. Undaunted Seacole funded her own trip to the Crimea where she established the British Hotel near Balaclava to provide ‘a mess-table and comfortable quarters for sick and convalescent officers’. She also visited the battlefield, sometimes under fire, to nurse the wounded, and became known as ‘Mother Seacole’. Her reputation rivalled that of Florence Nightingale.

After the war she returned to England destitute and in ill health. The press highlighted her plight and in July 1857 a benefit festival was organised to raise money for her, attracting thousands of people. Later that year, Seacole published her memoirs, ‘The Wonderful Adventures of Mrs Seacole in Many Lands’. Mary Seacole died on 14 May 1881.