Thomas Coram was a philanthropist and campaigner whose greatest achievement was the Foundling Hospital. But this was just one of many philanthropic projects he pursued throughout his life.
Born in Lyme Regis 350 years ago, he was neither wealthy nor well connected, but his commitment to his causes persuaded others to support him. Radical in his thought and method, he fought to protect the rights of those who couldn’t do so for themselves.
He triumphed over the prejudices of a society which tolerated child poverty and abandonment, and he argued for the education of girls, and spoke up for native Americans, destitute sailors, and unemployed soldiers.
Among his supporters and friends were many influential people including famous artists, writers and musicians of the time, such as the composer George Frideric Handel and the artist William Hogarth. He was also a friend of Speaker Arthur Onslow as well as an inspiration to the author Charles Dickens.