Foundling Museum

Museums Bloomsbury
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Foundling Museum
© The Foundling Museum
The Foundling Museum tells the story of the Foundling Hospital, England’s first hospital for abandoned children, founded by Thomas Coram in 1739. It houses a fine collection of paintings by artists including Gainsborough, Reynolds, Hogarth and Hudson. Also on display are eighteenth-century interiors preserved from the original hospital, a copy of Handel’s ‘Messiah’ and a collection of Handel memorabilia collected by Gerald Coke. 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. Foundling Museum family trails and children's activity backpacks are available at the reception desk.


Venue name: Foundling Museum
Address: 40 Brunswick Square
Opening hours: Tue-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 11am-5pm. Closed Mon
Transport: Tube: Russell Square
Price: £7.50, concs £5, under-16s free
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  • Exhibitions Tuesday February 20 2018 - Sunday January 13 2019
  • Tuesday February 20 2018 - Sunday May 6 2018
  • Classical and opera Friday February 23 2018
  • Music venues Friday February 23 2018
  • Music venues Thursday March 8 2018
  • Music venues Thursday March 15 2018
  • Music venues Sunday March 18 2018
  • Folk, country and blues Friday March 23 2018
  • Folk, country and blues Friday March 23 2018
  • Folk, country and blues Friday April 27 2018

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A stone's throw from Russell Square, the museum is not the original building which housed the children's charity(which stood nearby) though it has reconstructed 3 of the original rooms and incorporated some of the original items, such as the staircase and baptism font .  The story of the foundation of this musuem is fascinating and a tribute to those who selflessly gave their time and money - Thomas Coram and Handel amongst others - to improve lives of children on the streets.  Three floors of the history of unselfish people who made such a difference to the lives of hundreds of children in a caring, structured way.  An uplifting story.

Tucked-away in Bloomsbury, the Foundling Museum has a brilliant collection of eighteenth-century art, and a truly moving London story to tell. The way that English society treated its unwanted children over the centuries really does write an alternative history of this city. A display of oral histories from twentieth-century foundlings is particularly affecting. It also hosts some great temporary exhibitions. The 2015 one on the figure of the 'fallen woman' was fascinating.