As a 7/8 year old I learned about Florence Nightingale at Pownall Green Primary School in Bramhall. Florence was ‘The lady of the Lamp’, attended and cared for wounded soldiers, who respected her in turn. At the time I recall understanding that she was a significant woman. There was no mention of Mary Seacole, at all.
Knowing that Mary’s offer of service was turned away by Florence, that Mary’s own story and her contributions to nursing had been overlooked until relatively recently, influenced my perceptions on visiting the Florence Nightingale Museum. I was curious as to how this story would be addressed, and what I would make of it.
Above all, I came away impressed by the work, dedication and strength of these two powerful women. Both women subject to negative and restrictive attitudes of that time, got on with the business of repairing the wounded, tending the sick , shared a love of healing and travelled far and wide to do so. Florence and Mary were celebrated and well respected in their day. This is the story I came away with. Women as healers.