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The Foundling Hospital ceases to exist when all boarding pupils leave The Thomas Coram School. By this time more than 27,000 children have benefited from the Hospital’s pioneering care.
The School is renamed Ashlyn’s School, and the Hospital becomes known as The Thomas Coram Foundation for Children. It plays a pioneering role in fostering, adoption, early years provision and parenting programmes over the next half century.
Her Majesty The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh visit Coram to celebrate its 270th birthday.
Coram extends its support to children by acquiring children’s charity Life Education. It calls this new area of expertise Coram Life Education.
Hetty Feather, a novel by Dame Jacqueline Wilson, is published, relaying the story of a young girl’s experience of being brought up by the Foundling Hospital from a tender age.
Coram is the UK's first children's charity.
It was established as a refuge for abandoned children by Captain Thomas Coram who, in 1720, returned from sea and was determined to help the children he saw abandoned on London’s streets.
His 19-year campaign finally caught the attention of King George II who, in 1739, gave Captain Coram a Royal Charter to create the Foundling Hospital in Bloomsbury, which was then surrounded by fields.
The Hospital organised for foster families to care for the babies and young children until the age of five, when they were then brought to live and be educated in the Foundling Hospital until the age of 16, many being trained for domestic or military service.
Artist William Hogarth and composer George Frideric Handel were early supporters of the charity’s work. Hogarth donated a number of his paintings to the Hospital and Handel composed the Foundling Anthem for us, performing it to raise funds each year on his birthday. Handel left a copy of the Messiah to us in his will, which is on display today in The Foundling Museum.
The Hospital temporarily relocated to Redhill, Surrey, in 1926 while a new, purpose built school was built in Berkhamsted, which opened in 1936.
Over the centuries, thousands of children's lives were saved: some 27,000 children, before the 1952 Children Act changed what children needed from charities. In 1954 we closed the Foundling Hospital's doors, placing the children in its care back with birth mothers, or with foster or adoptive parents, and changing our name to the Thomas Coram Foundation for Children.
Based on the original London site in Bloomsbury, the charity evolved to develop new approaches to childcare and education, taking into account developments in child psychiatry and psychology which highlighted the importance of children’s emotional well-being.
Today, known as the children's charity Coram, we offer practical and emotional help to more than 15,000 vulnerable children, young people and their families, run a leading voluntary adoption agency and reach more than 800,000 children in UK schools through health, drug and alcohol education. Coram Children's Legal Centre champions children's rights in the UK and internationally.
We are pioneers in our field and celebrate our rich heritage and history through the Foundling Museum and events, such as a Handel Birthday Concert, still held to this day.