The Foundling Hospital was created to provide a home for the thousands of children abandoned on the streets of 18th century London.
Its founder, Thomas Coram, was a successful shipwright of humble origins who, despite his class and trade, eventually managed to encourage the sympathetic elite of London to support his cause.
After many years of struggle, in 1741 the Hospital for the Maintenance and Education of Exposed and Deserted Young Children – or The Foundling Hospital as it became known – opened its doors to the destitute infants of London.
It depended for its maintenance not only on wealthy benefactors but also on artists such as William Hogarth, who contributed their talents to raising funds for the charity. Amongst these artists was the musician, George Frideric Handel.