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50 Years of the Foundling Museum


If you are interested in art, history or the intimate personal stories of Londoners past, the Foundling Museum is a must-visit. In the 18th century, desperate mothers of illegitimate children would apply to the Foundling Hospital on pre-printed petition forms, pleading for their child to be admitted. Today, the Foundling Museum always has at least one of these poignant letters on display as well as continuing its charitable work and delivering an ambitious arts programme.

Caro Howell, Foundling Museum Director, shares a little about what makes the museum so special:

“The Foundling Museum tells an inspiring story of pioneering childcare that every Camden resident can be proud of and enjoy. The Foundling Hospital was established in 1739 to save babies at risk of abandonment on London’s streets. The brainchild of philanthropist Thomas Coram, it was the UK’s first children’s charity and its first public art gallery – thanks to the involvement of artists like William Hogarth, Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Gainsborough who donated artwork, and the composer George Frideric Handel, who composed the Hospital’s anthem and conducted annual benefit concerts of Messiah."

Tracy Emin, Baby Things

"The legacy of the Foundling Hospital continues today, not only in the work of the children’s charity Coram, but also at Coram’s Fields - the site of the original building - and at the Foundling Museum, where you can see the Hospital’s remarkable collection of art surrounded by many of its stunning original interiors and furnishings. Today, visitors of all ages can enjoy exhibitions, live music, talks, workshops and a wide range of family activities”

Tokens left by mothers
Visitor in the Court Room

For more information and to find out what's going on at the Foundling Museum, visit their website.