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A history of the Greenwich Blue Coat Schools

1700 ~ 2014
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Hannah Elizabeth Raine 1877-1954

Hannah Elizabeth Raine was born on the 8th December 1877 to Hannah and Henry Raine of 4 Hatcliff Street, Greenwich, one of four children. Her father was a Labourer and her mother a Washerwoman.

The Blue Coat School Admission Register notes that Hannah was admitted to the school on 16 July 1885 at the age of 7 years. She stayed at the school until 14 November 1893 when she was placed as a Cook in the house of Miss Lowill, The Groves, Blackheath, aged 15 years 11 months.

According to the Ladies’ Committee Minute Book, at a meeting held on 13 November 1900 Elizabeth Raine (her mddle name) was considered for a position of working help on a three month trial. It was noted on 20th November that she had written accepting the post and the Ladies had received a letter of recommendation from her employer, Mrs May. The ladies agreed to ask ‘Lizzie’ Raine to begin work on the 1st or 3rd of December. In 1901 she was listed on the Census as ‘Assistant Matron’.

Hannah went on to live a full and busy life. She married Charles Hewitt on 6th December 1914 and had three children, Margaret Elizabeth, Bertha Frances and Dorothy Caroline. She died on 3rd November 1954, aged 76.


Hannah’s younger sister, Frances also attended the Blue Coat School. She was admitted on 30th June 1891, aged 6 years 11 months, and was placed as a Nursery Maid on 29th September 1900, aged 16 years 2 months, at Holy Trinity Vicarage, with Mrs Bayne, who was a member of the Ladies’ Committee. The 1911 Census shows that Frances and Hannah were both employed in service to Francis Upton, a Solicitor, who lived at 7 Eliott Park, Lewisham with his two sisters, one of whom was also a member of the Committee. Hannah was the Cook and Frances was the House Parlour Maid.

The Matron during this time was Elizabeth Howarth who served the school for about 25 years. The Report for the Year 1901 states: “The Committee cannot present their report without again testifying to the unfailing care and kindness bestowed on the girls by their Matron, Miss Howarth. They feel that not the least of the advantages given to the children by the School is the opportunity of gaining such a kind friend and adviser; her wise training in the School is a great thing, but the Committee are glad to notice year by year how lasting her influence is on former pupils who visit her from time to time and ask her sympathy and advice.”


Information about Hannah Raine kindly provided by her grandson, Mr David Cook