For nearly 100 years, the story of an incredible, heroic woman was forgotten, but Mary Seacole is finally receiving the recognition she deserves by being celebrated on a UK coin.
A true likeness
This brand new UK £5 coin has been issued to mark Mary Seacole’s selfless efforts during the Crimean War, where she cared for sick and injured soldiers.
The reverse design by Sandra Deiana is based on a genuine photograph of Seacole. The photograph was taken around 1870 and is now held at Winchester College.
Caring in the crossfire
From the age of 12, Mary Seacole helped her mother, a nurse who specialised in traditional Jamaican medicine. Inspired by her mother and following the death of her husband, Mary focussed on caring for the sick.
Her medical expertise was invaluable during the Crimean War, where, along with Thomas Day, she opened a ‘British Hotel’ near the battlefields. She devoted her time and resources to caring for sick and injured soldiers, even riding on horseback into the battlefields under fire to help men from both sides of the conflict.
The 2023 UK Mary Seacole £5 has been created in collaboration with ‘The Mary Seacole Trust’ to pay tribute to her dedication to helping others.
‘The Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands’
In 1957, Seacole penned a memoir, fittingly named ‘The Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands’ which detailed her humanitarian contributions during her 75 years. It wasn’t until the 1970s that people started to discover her story and realise how much of an impact she made on history.
Seacole was commemorated with a memorial in 2016 which is located in front of St Thomas’ Hospital. The sculpture was designed by none other than Martin Jennings, the creator of the King Charles III effigy that we see on UK coinage.