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Photo of Mabel Cottrell

Mabel Cottrell

Lady Superintendent of Welfare Section
Birthplace Staffordshire Walsall EnglandPlace of Residence at HM Factory Gretna Croft House Date of Birth: August 5, 1872 Date of Death: May 20, 1968


Full name of worker at H.M. Factory Gretna (and any other names they are known by) : Maybel Cotterell OBE 

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Gender: Female 

Date and Place of Birth: August 5th 1872, Walsall. 

Date and Place of Death: 20 May 1968, Gloucestershire 

Nationality: English 

Do we have images/photos of this person?: From the Farewell Mossband, and the IWM collection. 

Above photo is from IWM’s First World War Portraits (Women’s War Work) Collection. Catalogue number: WWC D8-5-373


Childhood: Christened at age 10 at Longton Staffordshire on January 23rd 1883. An early address was Alexander Road, Bicklings House, Clevedon.  

Parents: George Cotterell, Matilda Blencowe 

Parent’s occupations: George Cotterell; Solicitor, Matilda also seems to have been a solicitor. 

Schools / universities attended and years of attendance: No record of school or college attendance though is listed as ‘scholar’ on 1881 census. 

Occupation: School Mistress.  

Place of residence at Gretna: Croft House 

Job title at Gretna: Head Welfare Officer 

Marital status: Single 

Children: N/A 

Travels: Los Angles 1925, New York 1926, West Indies 1939. 

Awards/recognitions: Awarded OBE June 1918 

Trivia / any other information: Mentioned in article in Dumfries and Galloway Standard 7 July 1917, on opening of rest home for Gretna girl munition workers at Thornbank, Douglas Terrace, Locherbie. Mentions Miss Cotterell, and joint superintendents Mrs Eliott-Lockhart, The Hewke and Mrs Stephen Brown, Boreland. Thornbank, 7 Douglas Terrace, Lockerbie DG11 2DZ. 

By 1891 Mabel was living with her widowed mother Matilda at Priory Mansions, South Kensington. Her older sister Constance, a literary critic for the Academy magazine, had published her first novel, Strange Gods, in 1889 and was in the process of writing her second, Tempe. Mabel appeared in the 1891 census as a school mistress and boarding with her at Priory Mansions was a Swiss language teacher, Adele Glatz. A 1925 shipping manifest records that Mabel had skills in both German and French, and in the 1911 census she is recorded as living at 106 Beauford Street in Chelsea and teaching at a private school. Constance was also listed as living at this address. Mabel was appointed by the Ministry of Munitions for the purpose of setting up the Welfare Department at Gretna. She took up her post during February 1916. Besides her regular duties which included administrating and filing records for the female workers  she was involved in organising social and sporting events. ‘Miss Cotterell’ appears in many reports of sports events and galas. After the war she returned to London living at 20 Downside Cresent N.W.3. On January 2nd 1925 she left London aboard the steamer Cardinganshire for Los Angeles arriving on January 25th. Mabel retuned to the US in 1926 visiting New York and in 1939 traveled to the Dutch East Indies. In her later years she lived in Gloucestershire and died on May 20th 1968 at New Nursing Home Cairncross Rad Stroud.  



  • Books published (Title, year of publication, publisher): Book – “Housing for Employees of Shipyards for Building Ships for the United States” – report by United States Congress. Page 77-80 inclusive has a report by Mabel Cotterell on her welfare work in Gretna. 
  • Books written about the individual or mentioning the individual (Title,  
  • year of publication, publisher):  
  • Carr, Jessica, “Women’s Work in Munitions Factories during the First World War” Honours Dissertation, Dept of Humanities Northumbria University, (2016). 
  • Brader, Chris, “Girls of the Timbertown,” Bookcase, 2004.
  • McClaren, Barbara, “Women of the War,” George H. Doran, 1918. 

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