Florence nightingale

Angry diatribes and amusing pranks: Donmar Warehouse’s Marys Seacole reviewed

The title of the Donmar’s new effort, Marys Seacole, appears to be a misprint and that makes the reader look twice. Good marketing. The show is a blend of Spike Milligan-esque sketches and indignant speeches about race but it starts as a straightforward historical narrative. Mary Seacole enters in Victorian garb and introduces herself as a woman of half-Scots and half-Caribbean heritage who believes that ethnic differences create hierarchies of competence. Her veins, she says, flow with ‘Scotch blood’ and this gives her an entrepreneurial advantage over her ‘indolent’ Caribbean neighbours. Inflammatory stuff. If a white author embraced that supremacist creed, there’d be outrage. After the history lesson, the scene

The fuss over Mary Seacole’s statue has obscured the real person

Who would have thought that a statue of a West Indian-born nurse in south London has a role in today’s culture wars? Unveiled in 2016, it stands three metres tall outside the great teaching hospital, St Thomas’, and depicts Mary Seacole, an extraordinary Creole woman who was loved and renowned for giving succour to British troops, first in her native Jamaica and then in Crimea during the bloody and prolonged war with Russia of 1853-6. It is controversial on two main counts. First, it stands on hallowed ground at the hospital where Florence Nightingale pioneered nursing as a profession after returning from Crimea. Critics deemed it wrong to site a

Titania McGrath: ‘I can’t forgive Florence Nightingale for her silence on non-binary rights’

How has Titania found lockdown? I conduct most of my activism through Twitter, so lockdown has not prevented me from spreading my important message of social justice. The trick to Twitter is always to include a rainbow flag and pronouns in your bio. That way, when you’re calling your opponents evil, lowlife scumbags, trying to get them fired, or gloating if they die, everyone will know that you’re actually incredibly compassionate. You cite the likes of Meghan Markle, Hillary Clinton and Joseph Stalin as key influencers for children growing up today. Who were your own role models growing up? I did used to look up to Florence Nightingale, but then