Sunday, 10 July 2016

Lady Mabel Annie Brassey Egerton, CBE (1865 - 1927) – Ran The Coffee Shop on Rouen Station in France in WW1

The Coffee Shop at Rouen Station
(Photo courtesy of )
NOTE:  I have found another spelling for Mabel – Mabelle – which causes some confusion.

Lady Mabel Annie Brassie was born in 1865.  Her father was Thomas Brassey, first Earl Brassey and her mother was Anna, nee Alnutt.  Her siblings were Thomas Allnutt (1863 – 1919), Constance Alberta (1868 - 1873) and Muriel Agnes Brassey (1872 – 1930).

Mabelle married Charles Augustus Egerton on 17th April 1888 and they had four children – Henry Jack, Hugh Sydney, Hester Joan and Edward Brassey Egerton.  The family lived at Moutfield Court, Robertsbridge, Sussex.

Edward joined the Army in 1909 and was killed on 1st September 1916. He was buried in Habarcq Communal Cemetery Extension, Pas de Calais, France.   Lady Mabel’s husband, Charles Augustus Egerton, died in 1912.

Lady Egerton was awarded a CBE in 1918 for her services during the First World War.   She died on 18th February 1927.

According to Sue Light of Scarlet Finders, in the autumn of 1914 Mabel and her father drove in their car to Rouen in France with supplies for the Red Cross and St. John’s Ambulance.  While they were there, they were asked to supply hot water so that troops passing through Rouen station could have hot drinks.   From a small beginning with an empty goods shed and some tables, Lady Mabel Egerton’s Coffee Shop became one of the largest of such ventures on the Western Front.   In 1917 it was taken over by the Church Army.  

Female Poet of the First World War May Wedderburn Cannan worked at the Coffee Shop in Rouen during WW1 and wrote a poem about her time there: