Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from goo.gl/Ta4oAX.
Trinkets left by mothers
The first time I learnt about the Foundling Hospital was when I read Coram Boy by Jamilia Gavin. It is a heart wrenching children's book that brings to light the harsh realities of orphaned children in the 18th century, and does not shirk away from harrowing experiences of the children and mothers, or the vile acts of some of the men who benefited from their misfortune.
In the novel, I learnt how mothers of illegitimate children, or mothers who were too poor to look after their newborns, would give them up to the Foundling Hospital, believing that their children would be given a better life and hopefully a new home. Sadly, so often this was not the case.
Many of the mothers would leave the child with a small trinket either as a memento or in the hopes that one day it might help them be reunited with their child. These tokens were small everyday objects such as a coin, a ring, or a button.
Now, over two hundred and fifty years later, The Foundling Museum is running an exhibition called 'Faith, Hope & Charity', telling the previously untold stories of grief, separation, and the timeless bond between a mother and child.
The selected stories will be revealed through the tokens, artefacts, and artworks and artefacts from that period. The exhibition will run between the 25th January - 19th May. and is free, but admission to the museum is £8.25.