Blue plaque plan to honour work of Salisbury’s Dr Marina Seabright

PLANS for a blue plaque honouring the pioneering work of a Salisbury woman have been submitted.

A bid to install the tribute at the former general infirmary in Fisherton Street would honour Marina Seabright, who was influential in developing techniques for analysing chromosomes.

She worked at Salisbury Infirmary, now Pembroke House, in the 1960s and 70s and Salisbury Civic Society and the Salisbury Soroptimists are applying for permission to install the plaque.

Born in 1922, Dr Seabright hailed from Calabria in Italy, and studied medicine at Palermo in Sicily.

She married Harold Seabright, an English sub lieutenant in the Royal Navy volunteer reserves, with the couple eventually settling in Ringwood, Hampshire.

Marina first intended to continue her medical studies at the University of Bristol, however her application was unsuccessful and instead in 1947 she began working in pathology at Salisbury General Infirmary.

She is best known for her work in the field of cytogenetics.

Dr Marina Seabright

Dr Marina Seabright

In 1967, she had a chance scientific discovery which was initially dismissed as a mere artifact but, several years later, after revisiting the technique and conducting further investigations, she developed the hugely influential trypsin G-banding technique for chromosomes.

In the mid-1970s, Marina completed a PhD at the University of Southampton on the effects of X-ray radiation on chromosomes and later became Consultant Scientist and Director of the Wessex Regional Cytogenetics unit based in Salisbury.”

She retired on December 31, 1987, the day her OBE was announced in the list of New Year’s Honours and lived in Ringwood until her death in July 2007.

The application said: “The proposal does not involve any alterations to the building. It relates solely to the addition of a commemorative blue plaque, 33 cm in diameter, to the front elevation of the east wing of the building to commemorate Marina Seabright who was a pioneer in cytogenetics; something that was unusual for a woman at the time.”

It adds: “The building is referred to in a heritage trail guide, called ‘Her Salisbury Footprint’, that celebrates notable women in Salisbury.

The plaque will recognise Dr Seabright's pioneering work

The plaque will recognise Dr Seabright’s pioneering work

“The plaque will enhance the heritage asset in that it will provide information about its former use as an infirmary and information on some of the work carried out there.

“This will increase public understanding and appreciation of the building.

“The position of the plaque has been chosen so that it will be legible to passers-by. It will be opposite the pedestrian entrance to the grounds and will not impact upon the character of the frontage as a whole.”

For more details, and to comment on the scheme, log on to and search for application reference PL/2023/04490.


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