Established in 1739 by shipwright Thomas Coram, the Foundling Hospital was England’s first children’s charity and London’s first home for children whose mothers were unable to care for them. Over the next two centuries, more than 27,000 children grew up at the Hospital.

Coram’s Foundling Hospital Archive holds a wealth of information about each of these children. Thousands of documents from the 18th and 19th centuries record their life at the Hospital and the apprenticeships arranged for them as teenagers so that they had employment upon leaving the Hospital’s care at age 21.

Individual Foundlings’ stories are being brought to light in the Voices Through Time: The Story of Care programme, supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Discover the fascinating Foundling stories we’ve uncovered here.

View highlighted stories in the boxes below and have a look out for new stories too. We’ll keep adding to them as research continues in the archive.

Discover all our Foundling Stories