Its taken me a long time to write this post.
I’ve been thinking about what to say….. on a place that has deeply touched me.
The Foundling Museum, set up in 1739 and still in operation (in a different form) as a charity helping children today.
With a charter from the King and support from Hogarth and Handel it also became the first public art gallery.
It is simply heartbreaking. You can read more here.
Initially entry for your baby was by ballot – as the hospital was so over subscribed, as the Victorians took over it became a matter of petitioning the board to have your child accepted.
You had to prove you were a woman of previous good character.
Often the babies were left with a small token – as their names were changed on arrival, this was the only way for a mother to identify her child should she wish to reclaim it (sadly very few were).
As a result the museum has the most wonderful collection of scraps of fabrics and ribbons from Georgian England.
There are also many trinkets – opera glasses, broken bracelets.
A fascinating insight into the lives of normal people.
At the time I visited there was an exhibition of Victorian painters on the theme of “The Fallen Woman”.
So sad and heart wrenching.
I had an hour to wait before the train so walked through Bloomsbury (had I a spare £2 million I would buy myself a flat somewhere around here).
And spent time in the British Library looking at their “Treasures Room”. From an original Beowulf (this was the highlight for me) to manuscripts by my favourite composer Purcell to Shakespeare (of course) to ancient Indian manuscripts.
A lovely way to end a wonderful, if absolutely exhausting, two days in London.