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London's Forgotten Children: Thomas Coram and the Foundling Hospital - Dame Gillian PughAdd to Queue

  • Posted by : GreshamCollege

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  • Date posted : Jan 01, 1970

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In 1739, Captain Thomas Coram was dismayed at the sight of children dying on the dung heaps of London. These children, mostly foundlings and orphans, were products of a poverty-stricken society where the attitude towards babies born outside of wedlock meant a life of rejection and inferiority. After 17 years of campaigning, Coram managed to persuade sufficient 'persons of quality and distinction' to support his petition to the King to grant a Royal Charter for the building of the Foundling Hospital in Bloomsbury. Over the next two hundred years, thousands of children were brought to the Foundling Hospital by mothers who were unable to look after their illegitimate children. There they were provided with excellent health care and education fit for their station in life before apprenticing the boys to learn a trade and the girls to domestic service. In this lecture Dame Gillian Pugh, former chief executive of Coram, offers a fascinating history of the first children's charity and charts the rise of this incredible institution. It examines the attitude towards foundlings as illegitimate children over the years and brings us up to date on the innovative work of the charity today, now known simply as Coram. The transcript and downloadable versions of the lecture are available from the Gresham College website: http://www.gresham.ac.uk/lectures-and-events/london%E2%80%99s-forgotten-children-thomas-coram-and-the-foundling-hospital Gresham College has been giving free public lectures since 1597. This tradition continues today with all of our five or so public lectures a week being made available for free download from our website. http://www.gresham.ac.uk

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