The internet search engine Google has chosen to celebrate the life and work of nursing pioneer Mary Seacole today.
Throughout the calendar, the company selects individuals and events to highlight with an illustration – known as a “Google Doodle” – on its home page that links to websites with information on the subject.
Mary Seacole, who was born in 1805 and died in 1881, was a contemporary of Florence Nightingale, though her work has often been overshadowed by the latter.
Google highlights work of nursing pioneer Mary Seacole
However, in recent years her legacy has grown in prominence and she has become a beacon for many black and minority ethnic nurses, and has an annual awards event named in her honour.
The daughter of a Scottish army officer and a free Jamaican woman, she was born in the West Indies. It was from her mother – a healer who used traditional Caribbean and African herbal remedies – that she is thought to have learnt her nursing skills. Travelling at her own expense, she went to the battlefields of the Crimea in 1855, where she set up the British Hotel close to the war zone.
From here she provided soldiers with food and nursing care, and was also known for riding to the frontline to treat the sick and wounded of both sides on the battlefields.
A statue of the nursing pioneer was unveiled at a special ceremony in London earlier this year, following a long campaign to raise funds.
The unveiling ceremony took place on 30 June in the garden of St Thomas’ Hospital, located at the front of the hospital when approaching from Westminster Bridge Road.