We are delighted to introduce our new Stories of Interest Volunteers. They will be helping us to research and uncover the stories of former pupils at the historic Foundling Hospital from the 1730s to the early 20th Century, using primary source documents from our archive, located at the London Metropolitan Archives.

Find out more about each of our volunteers by reading their interviews below.

Alex

Why you applied?
I applied to the Stories of Interest project mainly due to my interest in democratising history, and due to a desire to include stories of care in historical narratives (which I feel often are restricted to analysing the nuclear family).

What are you most looking forward to?
I’m most looking forward to curating blog posts based on my research as I really enjoy the production of public sources of history.

What have you done in the past that is relevant to this project?
I have experience in publicising my research through blog posts, though the project was on Latin American history so slightly different to the Coram project!

An interesting fact about you?
I am a big fan of tattoos and tend to get a new one each month!

Bethan

Why you applied?
I applied for a position as a Stories of Interest volunteer as I am really passionate about the history of children and uncovering unknown stories.

What are you most looking forward to?
I am most excited about learning completely new things about people who I would never have known about without the Foundling Hospital Archive. I love getting to know the history of individuals!

What have you done in the past that is relevant to this project?
I have taken part in lots of volunteering centred around helping vulnerable children. I am also currently writing my dissertation about vulnerable children in 1930s Germany so it is an area of interest very close to my heart.

An interesting fact about you?
I am a brown belt in Karate.

Izzy

How are you feeling about being part of the team/the project ahead?
I am excited to be a part of this project because I think it is a great chance for me to learn more about the Foundling Hospital but also to be a part of a unique and exciting public history project!

Why you applied?
I applied because I thought it was an amazing opportunity. I enjoy my study of History yet it is often constricted to essay writing. This project provides a unique opportunity to work with an amazing charity, engage with the public and share stories that matter and can make a difference.

What are you most looking forward to?
I am looking forward to having access to the archives! I find primary sources fascinating and this is an exciting opportunity to improve my research skills and learn as much as I can about the Foundling Hospital. I am also excited to improve my writing as this project enables us to write up our findings in a range of ways!

What have you done in the past that is relevant to this project?
I study History at the University of Leeds so have had the opportunity to do archival research before. I did a project on the history of orality in which I used the online database of the Court Depositions of South West England, 1500-1700, to work out how depositions can enable us to better understand the development of oral culture. I am new to the history surrounding the Foundling Hospital and excited to learn more!

An interesting fact about you?
In a few months I am travelling to Sr Lanka to work in a turtle sanctuary!

Lauren

How are you feeling about being part of the team/the project ahead?
I’m excited about being part of this project, learning more about the history of the Foundling Hospital myself after spending my time at university so close to its former site, and making that knowledge more accessible through our research.

Why you applied?
I applied because I really enjoy research and looking through archives, and I want to do this kind of research work for charities in the future.

What are you most looking forward to?
The part I’m most looking forward to is looking at the primary sources to write those previously unwritten histories. I’m particularly interested in social history, with my research focusing on migrant and diasporic histories in Britain. This overlaps with the Voices Through Time project in that both topics centre on the histories of groups ignored in mainstream narratives.

What have you done in the past that is relevant to this project?
My prior experience coming into this project is the research I did for my undergraduate dissertation in history, in which I heavily utilised newly digitised archives, like the ones we are using, from both governmental and community-based primary sources. This made me newly appreciative of how important archive digitising projects are in accessing history. I also led a research team looking at decolonising initiatives in our department, which included student surveys, staff interviews, and writing two reports – skills I hope to bring in when presenting the stories of individuals who spent time at the Foundling Hospital.

An interesting fact about you?
An interesting fact about me is that when I was 2, I was featured in the newspaper for raising money for charity by doing roly-polys!

Liv

Why you applied?
I applied to work on this project to broaden my knowledge and interest in the Foundling Hospital and to have a better understanding of individuals taken care of there in order to develop my own research on the hospital, uncovering the previously forgotten voices of the children.

What are you most looking forward to?
I am most looking forward to researching and uncovering stories of these children within the archives. I enjoy archive research and discovering stories of the past and I am excited to work alongside like-minded people in doing this to get the most out of our research.

What have you done in the past that is relevant to this project?
I am currently working on my undergraduate dissertation on the perceptions and philanthropy of the Foundling Hospital, as well as modules within my degree on crime and punishment where we have looked at infanticide cases, and women who used the hospital to avoid this.

An interesting fact about you?
An interesting fact about me is that I play lacrosse!

Xinyi

How are you feeling about being part of the team/the project ahead?
I’m excited to build the life stories based on the massive archives and to learn from our team members! It’s an excellent opportunity to professionally and emotionally know the people who lived in the Hospital in the past.

Why you applied?
I’m interested in how to interpret heritage and history to the public, and this volunteer placement gives me the opportunity to transfer archives into attractive stories.

What are you most looking forward to?
I look forward to searching our archives and transferring them into individual stories and social history. I expect to find some heart-warming and inspiring stories.

What have you done in the past that is relevant to this project?
In my master’s study in Managing Archaeology Sites, I practiced reporting a heritage site through telling its dynamic past and local lifestyle in accessible language.

An interesting fact about you?
If there was no study or work, I could spend 5 days a week visiting museums and heritage sites, and in the next 2 days, rest and plan the next 5 days.