Discover the stories of former pupils who lived through the conflicts of the twentieth century through this display of photographs, audio recordings and personal belongings.

Life in Wartime explores how the Foundling Hospital’s upbringing reflected military life, with many children going on to serve in the armed forces. It explores the daily lives of children who were at the school during the First (1914-1918) and Second World Wars (1939-1945) and the extraordinary military careers of some who served.

Through photographs, personal effects and their own words, the stories of former pupils come to light, including: how the regimen of the Hospital was so strict that one boy had no need to read a clock; how the Hospital acted as next-of-kin for a soldier killed in action; how one soldier recorded his extensive military tours on the lid of his childhood suitcase; and how one girl volunteered for the Women’s Royal Naval Service as soon as she came of age.

This display features audio recordings of interviews with former pupils describing their experiences during the war years, some of these accounts include mentions of corporal punishment and violence and may be distressing for some listeners.

Free with admission