Salvation Army personal papers collections: Brigadier Mabel Poole

Scope and Content

These are the personal papers of Brigadier Mabel Poole (1892-1987), also known by the Indian name Nesamal (Sister of Love).

The records are arranged as follows:

MP/1 Correspondence and papers

MP/2 Photographs

MP/3 Travancore royal family

Administrative / Biographical History

Mabel Poole was born on 23 June 1892, raised in Watchet, Somerset, and worked as a children's nurse before training as a Salvation Army officer in 1912 having previously been a member of the corps at Burnham.

Following training she served at three London-based Women's Social Work centres: Lorne House Home for Mothers and Infants (1913-1914), Cotland Mother and Baby Home (1914-1916) and the Mothers' Hospital (1916-1919) where she trained as a midwife. In 1918/1919 she undertook a year long course in tropical medicine before being transferred to South India where she served as a nurse in Tamil Nadu and Kerala for 32 years.

Her appointments in South India comprised four separate appointments at the Catherine Booth hospital, Nagercoil; Kulathumale (Kulathummal) Branch hospital (1922-1925); Evangeline Booth Leper Colony, Puthencruz (1940-1944); and Cochin State Leper Hospital (1948-1949). In India she also held two Special Duty appointments establishing medical work in Puthencruz (1926-1927) and caring for an infant member of the Travancore royal family (1938-1939).

In 1952 she returned to the UK and retired to her childhood home of Watchet. She was awarded the Salvation Army's certificate for long and exceptional service in 1981 and died in Weston-super-Mare on 23 February 1987.

Access Information

Open for research. The reading room of The Salvation Army International Heritage Centre is open Tue-Fri 9.30-4.00. It is advisable to make an appointment. Tel: 0207 326 7800; email:

Other Finding Aids

A multi-level description of this collection can be accessed in the International Heritage Centre's online catalogue: A paper catalogue is available in the reading room of the International Heritage Centre.

Custodial History

The custodial history of records in the collection is unknown. It is believed some or all of the items may have been transferred via Brigadier Francis Locke who worked with Poole in South India.