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MP calls for Mary Seacole to be 1st black Brit on bank note

CELEBRATED: A lost painted portrait of Mary Seacole by obscure London artist Albert Challen dating from 1869

LABOUR MP Wes Streeting has called for Mary Seacole to become the first black person to feature on a bank note.

The call follows news that the Bank of England wil be rolling out a new £50 note in plastic material polymer. They have requested nominations from the public for the characters who will appear on the new note, which its set to be released after the £20 note in 2020.

Speaking to the Telegraph Streeting said: "Mary Seacole’s achievements are too often overlooked in history and yet what she did for soldiers in the Crimean War was an act of great heroism which led to her being voted the greatest black Briton.”


Mary Seacole was the daughter of a Scottish father and a Jamaican mother. In 1853, during the Crimean War, she tried to offer her services but was denied.

She independently travelled to Crimea and set up The British Hotel to provide food and medical services to recovering British Troops. She was posthumously awarded the Jamaican Order of Merit in 1991, and there is a statue of her opposite the House of Parliament. The iconic figure was also named the greatest black Briton in 2004.


The MP for Ilford North also put forward former South African president Nelson Mandela to adorn the £50 note, in a tweet published on Sunday.

The current £50 note features James Watt and Matthew Boulton and was issued on November 2 2011.

The possibility of having Mary Seacole on the £50 note has resulted on much discussion on social media.

Some believe this might be an attempt to deflect from Windrush scandal, as Lee Jasper tweeted: "Trying to placate us in the wake of the #WindrushScandal. Painting pretty cultural pictures on the British pound whilst deporting your granny. Don’t be grateful be angry. It’s entirely cosmetic."

While others suggested the move would be a worthy tribute to the inspiration figure.

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