We are really pleased to share with you the success of a project that we have carried out with educational organisation University of the Third Age (u3a).
In this shared learning project, we gave 100+ u3a members the opportunity to transcribe and research the lives of the mothers of Foundling Hospital pupils.
The project ran from November 2021 to May this year, with people taking part from all over the country. We shared a selection of letters from Foundling mothers with u3a members, for them then to transcribe and research. They dated from 1841 to 1849 and came from the archive record series Petitions Admitted. These letters show mothers’ petitioning for their children to be taken into the Foundling Hospital, and each letter often conveys a whole story about the mother and her circumstances.
U3a members have transcribed an amazing 2,950+ pages from these letters and carried out research into more than 90 mothers. The stories in the letters were a starting point for finding out more about the women in them. Using the Census and other public records, members looked for details about them, often finding out fascinating facts that paint a picture of their circumstances, as well as giving an insight into a number of aspects about life in general at that time, around the areas of family, work, travel and mental health.
At Coram we’d like to say a huge thank you to every u3a member who took part in the project. What you have transcribed and researched is fantastic, and we are so impressed with what you have been able to find out.
You have made an important contribution to the history of these Foundling mothers; and Coram will be able to use this research to inform and inspire people, now and in the future.
You can learn more about the Foundling Hospital by joining us! We are transcribing these records and uncovering the stories inside them. To find out more, click below.