18 July 2007 - 16 September 2007
England’s first home for abandoned children, the Foundling Hospital, was established in 1739 and remained open until 1954. During that time over, 25,000 children were cared for by the Hospital. Each of these children has a unique story.
In this new exhibition, the Foundling Museum focused on the lives of four foundlings, each from a different era, providing an inside glimpse into the lives of the children cared for by the Hospital. Through photographs, film footage, artefacts and personal memories, the exhibition showed how the Hospital and attitudes about child care have changed over the centuries.
Two children from the eighteenth century children were highlighted in the exhibition. The first was Paul Holton who became a successful business man and community leader and the second was Mercy Draper, a blind girl, who went on to become a successful singer before being committed to a lunatic asylum. They were followed by John Brownlow, a nineteenth-century child, believed to be the inspiration for Charles Dickens’s 'kindly Mr Brownlow' in Oliver Twist – and the exhibition featured some never-before publicly displayed Dickens memorabilia. The final child of the four, Joe Ormiston came from the end of Hospital’s institutional life bringing the exhibition into living memory with at times a difficult and heart-rending personal story.
The exhibition concluded with a look at the twenty-first century and the children’s charity Coram (the Foundling Hospital’s successor) which continues the groundbreaking work with vulnerable children and young people.
Images: © Coram in the care of the Foundling Museum
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Showcasing artwork by care-experienced children and young people, the Foundling Museum is proud to be hosting Flourish in 2013
14 June 2013 - 15 September 2013, 10:00 - 17:00
A new, site-specific commission from acclaimed British ceramic artist Clare Twomey gives visitors to the Foundling Museum the opportunity to take home a unique work of art, but only on condition they carry out a specific good deed.