On 25 March 1741, the first 30 children entered the Foundling Hospital. Their mothers brought them to the Hospital to be cared for, in the hope that they would one day see them again.
The new Foundling pupils were baptized and given a new name. Children born out of wedlock suffered huge prejudice in their lives, and it was thought that a completely new start would give them the best chance of a good life.
For many, the Foundling Hospital saved their lives, and enabled them to find a successful path in life.
Thomas, the second boy at the Hospital to be named after Thomas Coram, became apprenticed to the Sea Service and later returned to visit the Hospital.
John Brownlow, became Secretary of the Foundling Hospital in 1849 after growing up in its care. The Hospital governors said he “devoted himself to the discharge of his duties with an energy and zeal beyond all praise and to the great advantage of the Hospital.”
Charles Nalden, who was born in 1908 and brought to the Foundling Hospital by his mother at just three weeks, learned to play the cornet and joined the Hospital band. He became an army band master and professor of music, and was awarded a CBE.
Click here to learn more about the children of the Foundling Hospital.
To find out how Coram continues Thomas Coram’s pioneering work creating better chances for children, click here.