View of The Foundling Hospital, Holborn, London: a bird's-eye view of the courtyard.
The Foundling Hospital. Coloured engraving after L. P. Boitard, 1753. Wellcome Collection. Public Domain. Source: Wellcome Collection.

A new documentary film which tells the stories of children who lived in The Foundling Hospital, England’s first children’s home, is available to view at a free showing this month on the site where it was founded by Thomas Coram.  

No Place Like Home: The Story of the Foundling Hospital, details the lives of some of the 27,000 children who grew up at the institution between 1741 and 1954. It explains what led to their admission, what their life was like, the education they received, and their lives beyond the Hospital.

Many Foundling pupils went on to successful careers in music and art, fought in battle, and inspired one of the characters in Charles Dickens’ novel Oliver Twist

The film tells the stories of the desperate mothers who came to the Foundling Hospital seeking a better life for their child, and of philanthropist Thomas Coram, who was appalled by the conditions facing children abandoned on the streets of London.

Through interviews, contemporary images and archival records, the film explores the Hospital’s place in the history of social care and the work of its successor, Coram, the national children’s charity. 

The film has been created by production company Northern Town. It is part of Coram’s five-year programme “Voices Through Time: The Story of Care”, which is digitising more than 100,000 records from the Hospital archive, making them available to view online, thanks to a grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

No Place Like Home: The Story of the Foundling Hospital. Public screening at Coram Campus, 41 Brunswick Square, London WC1N 1AZ, 5.30pm, 19 October 2023, as part of Bloomsbury Festival 2023. Event is free but must be booked in advance.