Visit London Blog » foundling museum Enjoy the very best of London Fri, 22 May 2015 17:44:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Threads of Feeling at the Foundling Museum Thu, 14 Oct 2010 10:17:48 +0000

The Foundling Museum has embraced heartache and hope in their latest exhibition, Threads of Feeling. The show displays some of the tiny tokens that mothers left with their babies when they gave them up to London’s Foundling Hospital in the 1700s.

The hospital was founded by Thomas Coram who wanted to give abandoned children a decent life. Children were accepted anonymously so women were not publicly shamed into abandoning their babies elsewhere, but mothers were encouraged to leave a small token which was then added to the admission books with the details of the child.

The tokens on display include ribbons, fabric scraps and baby clothes. The scraps range from plain rough worsted to the occasional piece of fancy silk brocade, indicating the mothers came from all levels of society. It’s a fascinating glimpse into the fashions of the period.

Although there are about 5000 textile tokens in the archives, there is only room to display a small number of them in this exhibition and it really left me wanting to see more.

One of the most touching pieces is a crudely embroidered felt heart which indicates how reluctant the mother was to give up her child. The exhibition and the museum are both incredibly moving. I felt quite emotional on the train home, and will be reflecting on my visit for a long time.

When you’ve seen Threads of Feeling, head upstairs and explore the main collection to find out what life was like in the hospital, and what happened to the children after they left. You’ll also find out about the work of the Coram charity who still support and bring hope to disadvantaged children today.

To link the theme of threads throughout the building, VV Rouleaux‘s Annabel Lewis has created a waterfall of ribbons and bows which cascades down through the stairwell of the grand staircase and looks absolutely stunning.

Threads of Feeling at the Foundling Museum 14 October – 6 March. Adults £7.50, concessions £5, under 16s free.

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The Foundling Musuem Fri, 13 Nov 2009 12:30:53 +0000 The Committee Room

I would definitely count the Foundling Museum in Bloomsbury as one of London’s hidden treasures.

The Foundling Museum is worth visiting for its splendid interior, fascinating collections, changing exhibitions – and it’s an absolute must see for Hogarth enthusiasts.

The philanthropic sea captain Thomas Coram founded the hospital in 1739 for the “education and maintenance of exposed and deserted babies and young children”. Bear in mind that then the word “hospital” was not used in the sense it is today; then, it indicated an institution for those less fortunate.

The first stone was laid in 1742. At the time, the hospital was described as “the most imposing single monument erected by 18th century benevolence” and became London’s most popular charity. Estimations suggest Thomas Coram’s good work benefitted more than 27,000 youngsters.

The Foundling Museum

The museum, now housed in the only remaining hospital building (the administration building) tells the story of Thomas Coram’s amazing work and really does appeal to all ages.  In addition, the glorious Rococo interior houses works donated by artists including Louis-Francois Roubiliac, Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Gainsborough.

The museum also explores the work of the composer George Frideric Handel and artist William Hogarth, both governors and major benefactors of the institution. The works donated by the artists made the Foundling Hospital the nation’s first art gallery open to the general public.

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