If you’re interested in volunteering with us why not join our transcription project? Or if you’d like to hear about other volunteering opportunities with the records, get in touch at VoicesThroughTime@coram.org.uk.

Are you passionate about history? Interested in getting experience of doing original research and writing? We need your help to discover the stories of children who lived at the world-famous Foundling Hospital!

Established in 1739 by campaigner Thomas Coram, the Foundling Hospital was England’s first children’s charity and London’s first home for children whose mothers were unable to care for them, also known as ‘Foundlings’. Over the next two centuries, more than 25,000 children grew up at the Hospital.

We are looking for volunteers to delve into Coram’s Foundling Hospital Archive, and research the lives of individual ‘foundling’ children in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Thousands of records from the archive have been digitised in Coram’s Voices Through Time: The Story of Care programme, supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. With these records now digitised, it’s possible to discover the stories inside them.

If you are aged 18-24 and living in London, why not join us on this special project?

By volunteering with us, you’ll have the chance to:

  • Carry out brand new research with primary-source documents, by uncovering the stories of children and young people at the Foundling Hospital.
  • Gain experience of writing, with the chance to have your work published online.
  • Learn from our archivist about using and understanding historical records, getting an insight into the world of archives. You’ll be guided by our team in research skills and the history of The Foundling Hospital, and have the opportunity to discuss career paths within archives and history too.
  • Get creative with the stories you find and share them online.
  • Connect with other volunteers interested in similar topics like social history.
  • Contribute to this important social history and the history of the care system in the UK.

Read the volunteer role description here for more information.

Applications for this project are now closed.

Check out Foundling Stories hub and the stories previous volunteers uncovered


Dates for the programme

Find out the key session dates and deadlines

Sessions will take place during these weeks:
Week commencing 20 February: Informal interview
First month
Week commencing 6 March: Introduction session
Week commencing 13 March: The Foundling Hospital History session
Week commencing 20 March: Introducing the Foundling Hospital records and the digital archive
Week commencing 27 March: Guide to using the records and reading historic handwriting
Visit to the Foundling Hospital archive. In person, to be arranged
Next months
From April – August sessions will take place every two weeks
Deadlines 30 April: Research draft 131 May: Final research piece30 June: Written article draft 131 July: Written article draft 220 August: Final written article