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Child's admission record, with a token left by its mother

​Child's admission record, with a token left by its mother

Access to some of Coram's Foundling Hospital Archives, from March 2020

Coram, the UK’s oldest children’s charity, has received a grant of £1.26 million from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to enable the digitisation of a major portion of its Foundling Hospital archive dating back to its foundation in 1739 and detailing the lives of 25,000 children in its care. Coram’s four-year project, Voices Through Time: The Story of Care, will secure access to fragile and vulnerable items in the archive held by London Metropolitan Archives including Petition Letters from mothers seeking entry for their children and the Billet Books containing fabric tokens they left with their children. Many of these are currently unfit for consultation.

The project aims to digitise over 110,000 pages of documents which will be transcribed with the support of a global community of volunteers and made accessible on the Coram Story website along with stories and content from the projects created by care-experienced young people, and an online interactive timeline of care. The project is due to be completed in the Autumn of 2023.

Access to original documents which are being digitised will be restricted to preserve their condition and order after being prepared for digitisation by conservation and until the digital images are made available. The access restriction will start from March 2020 as the different series are prepared over a period of six to eight months. Thereafter access may be granted, but only in exceptional cases based on evidenced need and the physical condition of the items. Please contact LMA Enquiries for more information.

The series affected are:

  • General registers, 1741-1880 (A/FH/A/09/002/001-005) Available on microfilm to 1891
  • Apprenticeship registers, 1751-1898 (A/FH/A/12/003/001-003, 007) Available on microfilm to 1880
  • Nursery books, 1756-1812 (A/FH/A/10/003/004-007)
  • Baptism Registers, 1741-1885 (A/FH/A14/004/001-002) Originals at The National Archives to 1838
  • Daily Committee and House Committee minutes, 1741-1742 (A/FH/A/03/004)
  • Inspection books, 1749-1764 (A/FH/A/10/004/001-002)
  • General court rough minutes, 1739-1895 (A/FH/A/03/001/001-006)
  • Sub-Committee minutes, 1748-1843 (A/FH/A/03/005/001-036)
  • Claimed children: register, 1764-1765 (A/FH/A/11/001/001)
  • Parish register (children taken in on behalf of London parishes), 1767-1798 (A/FH/A/09/003/001)
  • Registers of children sent to Country Hospitals: Ackworth, 1757-1772 (A/FH/A/10/006/001 and A/FH/Q/01/064)
  • Registers of children sent to Country Hospitals: Shrewsbury,1759-1771 (A/FH/A/10/007/001)
  • Registers of children sent to Country Hospitals: Westerham, 1760-1769 (A/FH/A/10/008/001)
  • Registers of children sent to Country Hospitals: Chester, 1763-1767 (A/FH/A/10/009/001)
  • Petitions admitted to ballot, admitted and rejected, 1768-1800 (A/FH/A/08/001/001/001-025)
  • Petitions claiming children, 1758-1796 (A/FH/A/11/002/001-020)
  • Petitions admitted, 1763-1908 (A/FH/A/08/001/002/001-117)
  • Billet books, 1741-1814 (A/FH/A/09/001/001-203) Access to billet books provided in our conservation studio by prior appointment only (though many unfit for consultation)

The outstanding benefit of the project will be that fragile and vulnerable items will be safeguarded for future generations and for the first time made accessible online to anybody who wishes to consult them supported by contextual information and transcripts.

Find out more about the project on the Coram website.

For more about the Foundling Hospital archive at LMA see the Foundling Hospital research guide.

05 December 2019
Last Modified:
05 December 2019