Thursday, February 18, 2016

London places

The only good thing - and it's not nearly good enough, mutter mutter - about Daughter 2's living in London is that, when we visit her, we're working our way through the slightly less flying-visit-type things to see in London. Last month we went to the Geffrye Museum, which is a museum of the home and how people live. It's based in former almshouses and comprises a series of rooms furnished in period items from the seventeenth century through to modern times. It's very nicely done and definitely worth a visit, should you be in London and at a loose end.

I don't know why this photo is the only one I took.

The other place we went was the Foundling Museum. As their website says:

"The Foundling Hospital, which continues today as the children’s charity Coram, was established in 1739 by the philanthropist Thomas Coram to care for babies at risk of abandonment. Instrumental in helping Coram realise his vision were the artist William Hogarth and the composer George Frideric Handel. Their creative generosity set the template for the ways in which the arts can support philanthropy.

The Foundling Museum is a history and art museum, which through a dynamic programme of exhibitions and events, celebrates the ways in which artists of all disciplines have helped improve children’s lives for over 275 years. If you’re looking for unique things to do around King's Cross, or places to take children, this hidden London gem offers a wealth of activities."

I would also recommend this. Again, it's very interesting and beautifully laid out, though also extremely heart-wrenching. Thomas Coram returned from living in America, was shocked by the numbers of abandoned children he saw in London and was determined to do something about it, but it took him 17 years to raise the money needed to set up the Hospital. 

Parents who brought their babies to be looked after were asked to bring a token by which their children could be reclaimed if circumstances altered. Some of these tokens are on display and feature on the front of the booklet, below. They range from coins, keys, scraps of material, cheap rings and chains through to, in many cases, playing cards cut in half. They're absolutely fascinating but, oh dear, so sad. Some parents did come back for their children (though sometimes found that their little ones had died) but these are tokens of unclaimed children.

What a contrast to the lives of these little ones, surrounded by love.


  1. The Foundling Museum I've heard of, it figured in a murder mystery I read, the museum of the home I've never heard of and it sounds really interesting.

  2. I would love to see both those places. They sound unique and interesting. The Foundling Museum would make my heart hurt though.

  3. Indeed! The term 'foundling' is seldom heard these days even when children are abandoned, no matter what the reason.

  4. Funny, I'd just added the Geffrye to the list for the next London trip. Not sure about visiting the Foundling Museum, though. I'd probably make a right show of myself with all the noisy sobbing I'd be doing.

  5. I was dressed as a Tudor boy and allowed to stand on the other side of the rope on a school trip to the Geffrye museum. I was so giddy with excitement and role playing that I stuck my tongue out at the teachers! This was not typical behaviour and I felt mortally ashamed of myself when I was back in my school uniform.

  6. May there be more and more children as fortunate as your grandchildren! They look so happy!

  7. Anonymous6:29 pm

    What a beautiful header, it says Spring. The last picture is also joyful with those delightful young things.

    I would be able to cope with the Geffrye but not the foundlings.

  8. I am a Londoner living in London, to my shame I have vaguely heard of the Geffrye Museum but had no idea of the contents. Now I want to go there.

    Thank you for giving me something to look forward to, a favourite saying of my Mother's. Once visited it will require a blog., the visit won't be able to be soon, builders started at Pixie Mansions on Monday, already we have hit delay because of drains.

  9. I just love her red cheeks!