Anna Allnutt (1839-1887)

From Historical Hastings

Born in Clapham, Surrey to John Allnutt and Elizabeth Burnett, she married the English Member of Parliament Thomas Brassey (knighted in 1881 and became Earl Brassey in 1886), with whom she lived near his Hastings constituency.

Family and Travels

The couple had five children together before they travelled aboard their luxury yacht Sunbeam. The yacht was said to have been named after their daughter - Constance Alberta - who was nicknamed Sunbeam; she died of scarlet fever aged four, on 24 January 1873. The golden figurehead of the yacht depicting her is at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, UK. During a circumnavigation of the globe with a complement of forty three on board the Sunbeam between 1876 and 1877 she wrote and published an account of the cruise entitled In The Trades, The Tropics, & The Roaring Forties, or alternatively A Voyage In The Sunbeam: Our Home On The Ocean For Eleven Months; the book reportedly had sold 50,000 copies by 1879[1]. In July 1881 King Kalākaua of Hawaii, who had been greatly pleased with her description of his kingdom, was entertained at Normanhurst, and invested Lady Brassey with the Royal Order of Kapiolani.


At home in England, she performed charitable work, largely for the St. John Ambulance Association. Her collection of ethnographic and natural history material were shown in a museum at her husband's London house until they were moved to Hastings Museum in 1919. There are also several photographic albums and other ephemera held at Hastings Library. However, the vast majority of her photograph albums are now housed in the Huntington Library, San Marino, California. The collection of 70 albums, each containing 72 to 80 thick board pages, is said to be a preeminent example of the historic travel albums. These albums contain works by Brassey and others she collected, including those of commercial photographers.

Lady Brassey's last voyage on the Sunbeam was to India and Australia, undertaken in November 1886 to improve her health. On the way to Mauritius, she died of malaria on 14 September 1887, and was buried at sea.


Children of: Lord Brassey and Anna Allnutt (1839-1887)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Thomas Brassey (1863-1919)


Mabelle Annie Brassey (1865-1927) 8 June 1865 18 February 1927 [[Charles Augustus Everton (1846-1912)]]

Constance Alberta Brassey (1868-1873)


Muriel Agnes Brassey (1872-1930)


Marie Adelaide Brassey (1875-1960)


References & Notes