Click here to view previous visits

05 March 2020The Foundling Museum
27 April 2020Walking tour of Brixton followed by lunch at The Clink (Brixton Prison)
19 May 2020Eltham Palace
17 June 2020Postal Museum & Mail Rail
15 July 2020Parham House and Gardens
09 September 2020Legal walking tour and Royal Courts of Justice
06 October 2020Shakespeare's London, Globe Theatre & Sam Wanamaker theatre

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The Foundling Museum
Thursday 05 March 2020

PhotoBoys marching out of the London Foundling Hospital on the last day, 1926. Courtesy Coram

Our visit is in the morning.

Thomas Coram (1668-1751) returned to London in 1704 after eleven years in America and found the city to be a powerhouse of industry and wealth but was also noisy and disease-ridden.  Many parents, unable to care for their babies due to poverty or illegitimacy, chose to abandon them in the street.

After years of campaigning, Thomas Coram finally received a Royal Charter from King George II in 1739, enabling him to establish his Foundling Hospital to care for and educate some of London’s most vulnerable children. Supporters included the artist William Hogarth and the composer George Frideric Handel, who helped establish the Hospital as one of London’s most fashionable venues. Hogarth encouraged leading artists of the day to donate work, thereby establishing the UK’s first public art gallery. Handel donated an organ and conducted annual benefit concerts of Messiah in the Hospital’s chapel. In this way their creative generosity set the template for the ways in which the arts can support philanthropy.

From 1741 when the first babies were admitted, to 1954 when the last pupil was placed in foster care, the Foundling Hospital cared for and educated around 25,000 children.

The Foundling Museum opened in 2004.

The cost of the tour is £15.00 and the booking form can be downloaded here.