This week Coram’s archive transcription project reached two major milestones. Since 2020, 3,000 people have joined it to transcribe the records of children and mothers in Coram’s Foundling Hospital Archive. Together, the volunteers have transcribed over 30,000 records. This project is part of Coram’s heritage programme Voices Through Time: The Story of Care, supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

“What an incredible number of registered volunteers,” said Molly O’Doherty, Volunteer Coordinator of Voices Through Time. “Thanks to their hard work, we now have tens of thousands of records transcribed and countless stories of Foundlings and mothers discovered.”

The project began with the digitisation of 405 volumes from the Foundling Hospital Archive. Since then, volunteers have given their time to transcribe a range of documents from the 1740s to the 1890s. These include General Registers detailing the lives of children at the Foundling Hospital, minute books about the meetings and decisions made by those running it, and registers of the branch hospitals that opened in the 1750s.

“Right now, we are transcribing letters from mothers petitioning for their child to be taken into the Hospital,” says Molly. “These are some of the most touching records in the archive and so rewarding to transcribe. It would be fantastic to have even more volunteers get involved to transcribe these special records.”

Next year the digitised archival records, along with the transcripts, will be made accessible online. They will be freely available to all to use for research, education, creative work, or any other purpose.