I have been very busy just recently and one of my activities has been the Mary Seacole Memorial Statue Appeal of which I am chairman. Mary Seacole was the Afro Caribbean nurse of the Crimean war and she was buried in my Hammersmith constituency – Kensal Green cemetery.
Years ago the black community in Hammersmith told me that she was left out of the Crimean war memorial in London and yet she was very famous and popular in her day. She became a confidant of Queen Victoria. Her contribution to nursing was different to Florence Nightingale but no less important. She looked after troops on the front line. For more details see: http://www.maryseacoleappeal.org.uk/
Today I have issued a press release naming the eight shortlisted artists chosen to submit designs for a memorial that will go in front of St Thomas’ Hospital opposite the Houses of Parliament.
The short listed artisits are: Maurice Blik; Georgia Boyd Russell; Joy Gregory: Martin Jennings; Kenness George Kelly (Fowokan); Etienne Milner; Susan Stockwell; Bill Woodrow.
When they submit their proposals I hope to put them on display and on the Mary Seacole web site – watch this space!
This will be the first statue in the UK to an individual black woman. Her autobiography is a good Victorian read if you are still stuck for Christmas presents!