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Can you help? Alkham School Pupil 1933 Bettie (or Betty, or Ebberlean) Gillitt.

By Irene Bowie Clerk to Alkham Parish Council Alkham Parish Council

Monday, 7 March 2022


Alkham Parish Council Contributor


Alkham School 1933 Bettie (or Betty, or Ebberlean) Gillitt.

Hugh Turner has been in conatct and is asking for help with information relating to his mother ... can you help?

Hugh writes:

My mother was at Alkham school, though probably only for a few months, in 1933, and I would be pleased if anyone can shed any light on who she lived with while she was there.

My mother's UK home area was in Northamptonshire. Her mother and father were, as far as we know, unmarried, and there came a time when my mother, with her mother and brother, ran away from her (possibly abusive) father. She seems to have come to Alkham, probably with her brother but without her mother.

I remember her telling me that she stayed with cousins, I think on a farm. My mother was aged 9 when she was at Alkham school in 1933, and her brother was 7.

My mother's name was Bettie (or Betty, or Ebberlean) Gillitt. Her brother was Anthony (or Tony) Gillitt. It seems my grandmother had assumed their father's name Gillitt for herself and the children despite being unmarried.

My grandmother's family name was Smith, so it is possible that the cousins with whom my mother stayed in Alkham may also have been called Smith. The 1851 census shows plenty of farming Smiths in Alkham, but I haven't yet found proof of any remaining there by 1933. Can you shed light or confirmation on any of this?

The photo shows my mother aged 9, front left, presumably with the aunt with whom she stayed in Alkham (surname may have been Smith, though it may be that a Miss Smith married an Alkham farmer with a different surname. We think Smith though, as a G. Smith appears on a register as her guardian). The boys are likely to be her cousins, possibly with friends (not sure how many cousins she had there). She often hinted that she had a pretty wicked time with those boys!

If you do have any information that would help Hugh please conatct him directly at

[email protected]

Contact Information

Irene Bowie Clerk to Alkham Parish Council

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Alkham, Dover, Kent