The Foundlings were children whose mothers were destitute or dead, and they were taken in by various philanthropic institutions. One such place, the Foundling Hospital, was founded in London in 1739 by Thomas Coram. It was a children's home established for the "education and maintenance of exposed and deserted young children".
Initially, these children were supposed to become foot soldiers of the British Empire, which was desperately short on people willing to travel abroad, but often these men and women lived rich and varied lives. Helen Berry, Professor of British History at Newcastle University, tells Dan about her research into these children and one case study that she uncovered.
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Producer: Peter Curry