Lulu Coote

Lulu Coote, born 1890 .c was born to a Congolese woman and a Dutch sailor in Banana Point, Congo.  The small port attracted European visitors, including missionaries, notably in this case Reverend William Hughes. Hughes established the Africa Institute previously known as the Congo Institute, for African students to study.  Lulu arrived at the institute in the late 1890s with another mixed-race girl of Congolese descent.


She began training as a nurse in 1911 at the District Infirmary in Ashton-under-Lyne, Manchester and completed her training in 1914.


Lulu’s correspondence with Hughes suggests that she travelled to southern Africa, however incoming passenger records show her arriving at a port Liverpool on the 5th on June 1916. This record shows that Lulu was working as a nurse in Freetown, Sierra Leone. We are currently unaware of her movements during her time on the continent, but she would have been travelling at the advent of the First World War. British West African colonies at this time consisted of the Gambia, the Gold Coast (modern day Ghana), Nigeria and Sierra Leone. Freetown although not directly affected by the war was a key British maritime base of operation in the Central Atlantic.

Another thing to note about this journey is Coote’s upbringing – her time at the Africa Institute would have ingrained the idea of her returning to Africa to conduct missionary work like many of her compatriots who did just that.


The nursing register and the electoral register shows that Coote lived in the Manchester area from 1921 to 1940, including a brief instance in 1939 where she returned to Ashton-under-Lyne. The nursing register from 1921- 1923 shows that Coote was living and working at Hazeldean Nursing Home, Bury New Road, Kersal, Manchester. From 1925 – 1940 she lived at 74 Roseneath Road, Urmston, Manchester.


From 1943 till her death in 1964 Coote lived in Birmingham. She appearS  in the nursing register up to 1946, but her name appeared on the electoral register several times till 1955.

Officials at Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham, reported her death in March 1964, describing her as a retired nurse and unmarried. Her probate records also suggest she had no wealth.

Lodge Hill Cemetery and Crematorium, the closest cemetery, to Selly Oak, shows that Coote was cremated.


References:

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210 : Lulu Coote (1890-1964), African nurse in Britain, 2019. . Jeffrey Green. Historian. URL https://jeffreygreen.co.uk/210-lulu-coote-1890-1964-african-nurse-in-britain/ (accessed 5.30.20).

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