Thomas Coram and the Foundling Hospital | The History of London

When shipbuilder Captain Thomas Coram returned from America he was horrified by the poverty of London. Many young children were living rough on the streets, often surviving through begging or by petty-crime. Parents often had no choice but to abandon new-born babies because they were so poor they were unable to afford basic food, clothing and shelter for the child. An unmarried working woman who gave birth would most likely be cast out from her employment and both she and the baby stigmatized for the remainder of their lives. Around a thousand babies were abandoned each year in London.

Born in Lyme Regis in Dorset in 1668 Coram’s formal education was limited. He went to sea at the age of eleven and was apprenticed to a London shipwright at sixteen. He was commissioned to buy…

via Thomas Coram and the Foundling Hospital | The History of London.

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