LONDON-L ArchivesArchiver > LONDON > 2002-07 > 1025981734
From: "Linda" <>
Subject: Re: [Lon] FOUNDLING HOSPITAL QUESTIONS
Date: Sat, 6 Jul 2002 19:56:08 +0100
> which caused me to wonder how the child came by any particular surname at
all . So many of them. <
Foundling children were often given a surname deriving from the name of the
street they were found upon. Some were given the name of the parish.
> The eventual plight of all these children who apparently had no family and
were unwanted ..is beyond what I care to speculate on, but still I want to
know....so I ask- what probably happened to them. ? <
They were cared for until they were old enough to be apprenticed or set to
work in some way. However, it is fair to say that the vast majority of them
did not survive that long, even in the more enlightened and well run places.
To illustarte this are the well known figures quotes for Thomas Coram's
Foundling Hospital which opened in 1739. This one did a reasonably good job
and was founded upon charity rather than set up by a parish. In 1756, of the
1384 babes and children that were received that year, "only" 724 had died.
Between 1756 and 1760, 14,934 were admitted of which 4400 lived long enough
to be apprenticed. According to those who have researched this subject in
depth, these are fairly amazing statistics, not bettered by anywhere else!
> Not knowing anything about the institution and how it was run , another
question is : would it have been the case of an infant being left at the
hospital premises by someone whose own name was then used for the child's
records ? If so, in all likelyhood how truthful would this information
have been? Or , in the case of a hospital birth perhaps an attempt by
the mother to retain some sense of anonimity by not giving her name if
there was no father to name and /or she was trying to avoid disgrace ? <
There were no hospital births as such at that time. Most children were
abandoned in the streets, sometimes at the gates of a foundling hospital. In
the case of many it was not disgrace they were avoiding but the cost of a
mouth to feed.
All of the parishes in London had large numbers of abandoned (foundling) and
illegitimate children to "provide" for. Some women found themselves
physically moved on, if they were suspected of being pregnant and had nobody
to support them. When this didn't work or couldn't happen for some reason,
then the parish would try to obtain some money from the parent(s) as a form
of security against the "future expenses of the parish". Unfortunately the
one-off lump sum was popular rather than a continuing weekly amount. This
was for the simple reason that once the parish had its mits on the lump sum,
they then had little interest in keeping the child alive. Moreover, the
parent had no interest any longer either. Sad, but true. These were brutal
times we are talking about, which is why I personally, don't go for the
"good old days" arguments!
Hope that this helps.
......We are not always what we seem to be......
Researching: Cook(e) Mason Plant Keys Miller Broster Walton Dunn Rastall