Stories of Interest marks another completed project in our ambitious Voices Through Time: The Story of Care programme, supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

In this volunteer project, university students learned how to do research in Coram’s Foundling Hospital Archive to uncover the stories of individual Foundlings. Across the two Stories of Interest cohorts, 11 authors wrote 13 articles for the Coram Story website.

The project’s aim was to bring to life and empathise with the Foundlings’ individual experiences, rather than looking at them as a number or group. The volunteers also learnt transferable skills such as how to write for websites. The 11 authors were undergraduate or postgraduate students from a range of academic disciplines.

Our Stories of Interest volunteers found a fascinating range of life experiences for Foundlings in the 18th and 19th centuries.

  • Alice discovered the Scottish/Canadian ancestry of John Nelson.
  • Lola researched the life of disabled foundling Rose Otway, whose son John Hunt was also admitted to the Foundling Hospital.
  • Emilly investigated the run-aways Thomas Waugh and John Coldfield.
  • Maria traced the entire life of musical instrument maker Stephen Quilter through nine decades.
  • Matilda brought to light the story of disabled foundling Frederick Handel.
  • Hiba, Rifah, and Ella researched children who had been claimed by their mothers.
  • Isabel uncovered the story of a mother and daughter destined for the same fate.
  • Lauren explored the difficult apprenticeships of Agnes Hammond and Catherine Cameron, who both decided to emigrate rather than continue in domestic service.
  • Xinyi discovered the stories of Eleanor Weathers and George Grafton, who found love at the Foundling Hospital.

View all of our Foundling Stories here