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Ernest Cassel

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Sir Ernest Cassel
Anders Zorn - Ernest Cassel.jpg
painted by Anders Zorn, 1886
Born 3 March 1852(1852-03-03)
Cologne, Germany
Died 21 September 1921 (aged 69)
Brook House, Park Lane, London, England
Resting place Kensal Green Cemetery, London, England
Nationality German/British
Occupation Merchant banker
Known for Merchant banker and capitalist
Children 1

Sir Ernest Joseph Cassel, GCB, GCMG, GCVO, PC (3 March 1852 – 21 September 1921) [1] was a British merchant banker and capitalist.

Born in Cologne, Germany, the son of Jacob Cassel, who owned a small bank, Cassel arrived penniless in Liverpool, England in 1869 and found employment with a firm of grain merchants. With an enormous capacity for hard work and a natural business sense, Cassel was soon in Paris working for a bank. The Franco-Prussian War forced him to move to a position in a London bank, as he was born in Prussia.

He prospered and was soon putting together his own financial deals. His areas of interest were in mining, infrastructure and heavy industry. Turkey was an early area of business ventures, but he soon had large interests in Sweden, the United States, South America, South Africa, and Egypt.

One of the wealthiest men of his day, Cassel was a good friend of King Edward VII, prime minister Herbert Asquith and Winston Churchill. In 1878, he married Annette Mary M. Maxwell at Westminster [2]. He became a Roman Catholic at the behest of his wife, Annette, but was always thought of as a Jew. The establishment was shocked to find out that he had converted when he chose to be sworn in to the Privy Council with the Catholic Bible. [1]

Cassel had a famous art collection and many beautiful houses. He bred racehorses and owned Moulton Paddocks in Newmarket. His wife Annette died young and with the help of his widowed sister Wilhemina (known as Bobbie) they brought up his daughter and her son and daughter. His only child, Maude Cassel (1879–1911), also died young. He doted on the two granddaughters she left him, especially the eldest, Edwina, who looked after him in his old age. She later married Lord Louis Mountbatten.


Cassel's friendship with the King and involvement with international finance saw him receive many British and foreign honours, although contemporary society gossip suggested that he demanded these as a return for his services.[3] In 1899, he was made a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG).[4] In 1901, he was made a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (KCVO).[5] In 1902, he was made a Privy Counsellor.[6] In 1905, he was promoted to Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George (GCMG) [7] and, in 1906, he was promoted to Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO).[8] In 1909, he was made a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath (GCB).[9]

Awards received in thanks for services to foreign governments included Commander, first class, of the Royal Order of Vasa in 1900 from Sweden,[10] the Grand Cordon of the Imperial Ottoman Order of Osmanieh in 1903,[11] Commander of the Légion d'honneur in 1906 from France, the Order of the Crown, first class, in 1908 from Germany, the Grand Cross of the Order of the Polar Star in 1909 from Sweden, the Order of the Rising Sun, first class, in 1911 from Japan and the Order of the Red Eagle, first class with brilliants in 1913 from Germany.[3]


Funerary monument, Kensal Green Cemetery, London

Cassel died at Brook House, Park Lane, London. He and his wife are buried in Kensal Green Cemetery, London, in a large grave in front of the Anglican All Souls' Chapel.

A few months after his death, Cassel's estate was probated at £6,000,000 (equivalent to £Template:Formatprice today).Template:Inflation-fn


In 1919, Cassel founded the Cassel Hospital at No. 1 Ham Common, Richmond, which was at the time in Surrey. The hospital is a community for mental patients which provides care for 15 visitors at any one time. It is run by the NHS and housed in its original Victorian building by a staff of over a 100 specialists, it deals with all mental health issues from depression to personality disorders.


  1. GRO Register of Deaths: SEP 1921 1a 414 ST GEO HAN SQ - Ernest J. Cassel, aged 69
  2. GRO Register of Marriages: SEP 1878 1a 899 WESTMINSTER - Ernest Joseph Cassel = Annette Mary M. Maxwell
  3. 3.0 3.1 Thane, Pal (2008). "Cassel, Sir Ernest Joseph (1852–1921)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/32323. Retrieved 2009-01-25. 
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External links

Template:Genealogicspt:Ernest Cassel sv:Ernest Cassel

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