Participants in the Stories of Care creative writing project responded creatively to stories about 18th and 19th century Foundling Hospital pupils. Here is John’s response. You can also watch a video of Johns’s piece at the showcase. If you can’t see the film, you will need to enable ‘Marketing’ cookies by using the icon in the bottom left.


Day 1 at the Foundling Hospital, dropped off at the gate, a turn of fate. Stripped of a name, given a number in this strict game. They saw us as slaves and robots, making us work and no fun to be who I am to be. I see through it all, the eyes of the masters showing us education and knowledge is all. Told my parents were dead, and that the feeling of my mother’s love was only in my head. For I knew this wasn’t true, in my heart I always knew. Thank you, mother, for bringing me in, for I wouldn’t be who I am if I never learnt to sing. The Foundling Hospital taught so well, forever the experience all I felt was the swell. The bell rings, the bell sings, within the days I love to bring. My bringing of joy, that never sleeps for the suffering within would weep. The life you gave me, I never understood, for all you wanted was for the greater good. I would never have become the person I am if you never sacrificed the child through your lost sleep. It must have been hard to leave me. It must have been hard to have seen me, your eyes forever blue in the darkness they shined and I knew I was a part of you. My love comes forever deep. It comes and goes even through my sleep. Thank you mother. I was able to live well, for in the moment, I couldn’t tell, when I look back at the life presented, I always felt I had resented. I ate like kings, three meals a day, was more than a peasant would get is all I can say. I wasn’t grateful at the time, but where there are lemons, I understand there are limes. My job that was given was to make music and sing, this is the life that was chosen which I could bring. Now I teach others, the talents I’ve gained for I wish to use them to wash the suffering. Music was my expression, music was my lesson, a way to be and my love to others to be who they want to be. In the past, it was difficult to express, with music to learn, that was the test. I come forever true, thank you mother, I am forever with you.

Find out more about the Stories of Care writing project

Copyright © CoramCoram licenses the writer’s text under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 (CC BY-NC).