Peter Hig­gin­botham

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - FOCUS ON -

on­don’s Foundling Hos­pi­tal, es­tab­lished in 1739, was Eng­land’s first chil­dren’s char­ity. A bas­ket on its door al­lowed in­fants to be de­posited anony­mously, al­though moth­ers could at­tach an iden­ti­fy­ing keep­sake, such as a scrap of ma­te­rial. From the age of 14, the chil­dren were found places as ser­vants or ap­pren­tices.

Later Lon­don in­sti­tu­tions in­cluded the Fe­male Or­phan Asy­lum (1758), the St Pan­cras Fe­male Or­phan­age (1776) and the Lon­don Or­phan Asy­lum (1813). Ad­mis­sion was usu­ally by pe­ri­odic bal­lot of each char­ity’s sub­scribers and re­stricted to chil­dren born in wed­lock and in good phys­i­cal par­tic­u­lar dis­abil­i­ties. Many of th­ese in­sti­tu­tions later sold off their in­creas­ingly hemmed-in city premises and re­lo­cated to the coun­try­side.

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