This term, our theme is “Homes through the Ages”. Sadly, of course, down the ages, many children have been born into the world without a home of their own. With this thought in mind, we set off to London to visit the Foundling Hospital Museum and learn about a charity that has supported homeless children for nearly 300 years.
At this fascinating and hands-on Museum, there are copies of the clothes the foundlings wore, the beds they slept on and, most poignantly, tiny “tokens” – buttons, thimbles, charms or even just scraps of fabric left on the doorstep with the infants – the only thing in the world linking them to the mother who made the heartbreaking decision to give them up. Also on display are eighteenth-century interiors preserved from the original hospital; a copy of Handel’s ‘Messiah’ and a collection of Handel memorabilia. The composer was involved in fundraising for the hospital during his lifetime – in 1750, he donated the chapel organ and, from that year onwards, the ‘Messiah’ was performed under his direction on an annual basis for the Hospital’s benefit.
Our workshop leader for the day was artist David Lehan, seen below in the sumptous surroundings of the Museum.
The museum houses a wonderful collection of portraits and, while they were there, PLACE youngsters were encouraged to draw self-portraits featuring objects that are important to them – much as the founder, Captain Coram, had been depicted by Hogarth all those years ago.
The day was completed by a visit to the Museum of Childhood to take in the exhibition “On Their Own: Britain’s Child Migrants“, a sometimes heartbreaking look at how some children found homes in far off-lands away from their familites.
Thanks to everyone at the Foundling Museum and the Museum of Childhood for such an enjoyable and thought-provoking day.