Treasure from our archives

The records of Coram and the Foundling Hospital, held at the London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) include general registers, inspection books, petitions and other documents dating back to Thomas Coram’s campaign to establish the Foundling Hospital.

Our organisation’s 275-year history is preserved as a continuous record, in over 240 metres of shelving, giving unique insights into the problems and dangers facing vulnerable children across the centuries.

Children’s needs never change but understanding of the best ways to meet those needs has altered radically over the centuries. Our archives give a perspective on those changes, showing how Coram has reflected contemporary thinking and pioneered good practice in helping vulnerable children.

To plan a visit to our archives, please visit LMA’s website. Historical records are available to the public through The Foundling Hospital Archives,

Finding a Foundling

Coram offers a birth records information and counselling service to former Foundling pupils and their descendants, and to those placed for adoption by Coram. For details see our Birth Records page.

Family history researchers will find useful information on the LMA website information leaflets page

The Foundling Museum can also help with family history research here.  

Are you using our archives?

Undergraduate, post-graduate or just for interest - get in touch if you are using our archives for your own research. We can help you find the details you are looking for, post requests for further information and put up a link to your finished project.

Recent Projects

The Early Years of the Foundling Hospital, 1739/41-1773 by D.S. Allin

Drawing extensively on the Foundling Hospital archives, D.S. Allin's comprehensive research focuses on the early years of the Foundling Hospital, particularly the period of General Reception, its aftermath and the important contribution of the branch hospitals.

Contact the Foundling Museum for a downloadable pdf.

‘Restored to its mother’: Reclaiming Children at the London Foundling Hospital in the Nineteenth century by Amy Gallimore (University of Bristol, Department of Historical Studies, Best undergraduate dissertations of 2013)

This undergraduate dissertation explains the process and nature of restoring children to their parents at the Foundling Hospital in the 19th Century. It looks into the reasons that led to children being reclaimed, how often children and parents were reunited and the processes around reclaiming a child. The dissertation is stored on the Bristol University website. 

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