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Thomas Coram Foundation for Children

The Thomas Coram Foundation for Children, London, formerly known as the Foundling Hospital, currently named Coram, was founded in 1739 by the philanthropic sea captain Thomas Coram who was appalled to see abandoned babies and children starving and dying in the streets of London. In 1742-1745 a building was erected north of Lamb's Conduit Street in Bloomsbury. Boys were being housed in the West Wing of the new home. The East Wing was built in 1752 to house girls.

Popular artists of the 18th century became patrons and governors of the Foundling Hospital and donated some of their work to the foundation. The art collection contains works by William Hogarth, Thomas Gainsborough and Sir Joshua Reynolds, along with musical scores by Handel including a fair copy of Messiah bequeathed in his will.

The Hospital became fashionable as a cause, a gallery and a concert hall. It was pulled down in the 1920s. The work with vulnerable children was continued by the Thomas Coram Foundation for Children, now called Coram. The collection was moved to 40 Brunswick Square, London, and the Foundling Museum was set up in 1998.

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