"The statue of Thomas Coram: he..." London Off The Beaten Path Tip by ChrsStrl

London Off The Beaten Path: 1,703 reviews and 3,058 photos


The statue of Thomas Coram: he was a sea captain who had travelled widely. On coming to London he was appalled at the vast number of abandoned children. Because it was a subject that the upper classes tried to pretend did not exist it took him 17 years to gain enough signatures to present to Parliament and gain a charter to build a centre to care for them. The result was a vast green space surrounded by buildings, one side for boys, the other for girls, with a chapel in the centre. This is now called Coram's Fields. Foundlings would be left in a niche at the front gate. They grew to such numbers that there entry was by lottery. A number of balls, equal to the number of children, would be placed in a bag and drawn. A black ball meant the child could not be admitted, hence the phrase to 'blackball' someone. Nowadays many of the buildings have been demolished but the recreational spaces remain, but no adult is allowed in unless accompanied by a child.

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  • Updated Aug 26, 2002
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