Project ID: 1037

DescriptionVOICES THROUGH TIME: THE STORY OF CARE We need your help to turn our vast archive collection into documents that can be easily accessed and read online. Thomas Coram established The Foundling Hospital in 1739, as the UK’s first home for children whose mothers were unable to care for them. Today, the charity Coram continues to support vulnerable children and young people. Our archive contains thousands of handwritten records, going back to the 1700s, which contain the stories of children who were cared for at the Foundling Hospital. With your help transcribing these records, we can make them available online for the first time. We can find out more about the lives of children in care in the past, the institutions that cared for them, the history of Coram and the story of care in the UK.
TopicsSocial history
TypeU3A-led research (SLP)
Organization/partnerCoram Foundation
Year started2021
Source of referenceRequest from organisation
NotesThis is not an exclusively U3A project - the transcription is open to the public - but the U3A has been able to negotiate certain areas of work which can be offered to U3A members.
These could include finding out what happened to:
§  Foundlings
§  Foundlings’ birth parents and relatives
§  Wet nurses (who cared for the children until they were 4-5 years old)
§  Foster families
§  Foundling Hospital governors
§  Foundling Hospital staff

Local research
During the 1750s, several residential branches of the Foundling Hospital were temporarily opened to cope with the large number of children received during a period of ‘indiscriminate admission’. These were based at Ackworth, Shrewsbury, Aylesbury, Barnet, Chester and Westerham.

Background to the project
Voices Through Time: The Story of Care is a four-year programme funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, that will reveal untold stories about the lives of children and young people who lived at the Foundling Hospital.
The Foundling Hospital, which opened in 1739, was the first UK home for children whose mothers who were unable to care for them.

 The programme is run by the charity Coram, which was established by Thomas Coram as The Foundling Hospital, and is now the UK's oldest children's charity.
On this programme we are transcribing over 100,000 pages of historic records from Coram's Foundling Hospital, covering the years 1739–1910. This includes a range of documents that show the details of the everyday lives of children there, and letters from mothers appealing for their children to be able to live in the Hospital.
The digitised records and their transcriptions will then be made available to access for free on our website.
Visit our website here to read more about the programme: