PM warned of future hoax accusations

The Nightingale Society


PM warned of future hoax accusations

Prime Minister Cameron has received a strongly worded letter from the Nightingale Society criticizing the government’s recent decision to provide £240,000 towards a statue of Mary Seacole. Their concern focuses on the placement of the statue at St. Thomas’ Hospital, home for over 100 years of the first nursing school, founded by Florence Nightingale.

Seacole is hailed by statue supporters as a ‘pioneer nurse.’ However, Seacole’s own memoir and historical records of the period amply demonstrate that this claim is false.

Seacole and Nightingale were in the Crimea at the same time, but Seacole ran an officers’ club, catering their dinner parties, selling champagne and other luxury items. She was a kind and generous woman, but by no means a ‘battlefield nurse.’ In fact, she ventured on the battlefield only three times, post-battle, after selling wine and sandwiches to spectators.

The Society’s members include well-known historians and biographers. They acknowledge that Seacole may deserve recognition for her role as a businesswoman and adventurer but have proposed a more suitable site for the statue, Forum Magnum Square, near the old County Hall. (See photo.)

forum-magnumThe letter warns the Prime Minister of possible future embarrassment. The statue, if erected at St Thomas’, will likely become the site of ‘History Hoax’ awards. Cameron and his ministers could be the recipients of such an award.


For further information: Lynn McDonald, PhD, LLD (hon), emerita professor and author, Mary Seacole(Iguana 2014), tel: (Toronto) 416 944-9334

For text of the letter to Cameron, follow this link.