"Foundling Museum" Top 5 Page for this destination London Off The Beaten Path Tip by toonsarah
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Update April 2014: admission prices revised, opening hours checked, information expanded
This museum tells the story of the Foundling Hospital which was London's first home for abandoned children. It was founded by the philanthropist Thomas Coram, but is equally well known for the support of two famous patrons, the artist William Hogarth and the composer George Frederic Handel. In fact Handel gave regular benefit performances of his Messiah in the Hospital chapel to raise money to support the children housed here.
In the early eighteenth century up to a thousand babies a year were abandoned in London. In 1739 Thomas Coram established his “Hospital for the Maintenance and Education of Exposed and Deserted Children” which looked after more than 27,000 children until its closure in 1953. The Foundling Museum tells the story of these foundlings and their lives. Among the most poignant of its displays are the many objects which their distraught mothers, unable to care for them, left with their abandoned children as a single link to their past. These include cheap jewellery, locks of hair and scraps of blanket. There is also a collection of nineteenth century art including works by John Everett Millais, and of course some paintings by the patron, Hogarth.
The museum is open Tuesdays to Saturdays 10.00 AM – 5.00 PM and Sundays 11.00 AM – 5.00 PM (closed on Mondays). Admission is £7.50 for adults, £5.00 for concessions and free for children up to 16 years.
Nearby is Coram’s Fields, a seven acre playground and park for children living in or visiting London, occupying the site of the original Foundling Hospital. This is a great place to come if you have children in tow, but don’t bother if you haven’t, as no adult is permitted to enter without a child. Facilities include a playground (with equipment suitable for disabled children), grassy areas for ball games and picnics, and a Pets Corner (with sheep, goats, ducks, hens and more).
40 Brunswick Square, London WC1N 1AZ
The nearest tube station is Russell Square (Piccadilly Line) but Kings Cross, with many more lines, is only a short walk away
Phone: 020 7841 3600
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