About the object

Exact date and time

This token contains very precise details, not only a child’s date of birth (10 November) but also the exact time they were born: “half hour after 12 o’Clock”. No year is given, however. The person who had this made might have had an astrological interest in the information. The eighteenth century saw widening public interest in technology and science, but superstition and magic did not entirely disappear. Fortune telling was outlawed as a form of fraud in 1736, but the practice continued. You could commission a “nativity” from a fortune teller, a horoscope based on the moment of your birth.

Phoenix rising

The other side of this token shows a phoenix, a mythological bird that dies and then is reborn from the fire. The phoenix has a variety of associations, including rebirth, resurrection, hope and the forgiveness of sins. It may have been chosen to represent this childs new life at the Hospital.


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