Online | Dr Hunter’s Secret Delivery

40 Brunswick Square London WC1N 1AZ
05 Nov 2020 — 28 Feb 2022
  • Talks
Researcher Janette Bright uncovers the curious story of a noble lady whose twins were secretly taken to the Foundling Hospital.

William Hunter was considered one of Britain’s leading obstetricians in the 18th century. He was intelligent, sociable and moved in admired circles. He used to relay the anecdote of a peer’s daughter who needed his assistance. She promised to give birth in silence so the child could be secretly taken to the Foundling Hospital. However, at Christmas in 1767 she gave birth to not one infant, but to twins. The real father died and the lady soon married.

Was the story even true? And what happened next? Listen below as Janette Bright reveals how the Foundling Hospital archives proved it was, but also what happened to the children.

Janette Bright first came to the Foundling Museum as a visitor, shortly after it opened. An interest in the Foundling Hospital tokens and the undiscovered stories behind them became the basis for the book Introduction to the Tokens at the Foundling Museum, which she co-authored with a fellow researcher.

Bright has been involved in historical research for several exhibitions and displays both at the Foundling Museum and the charity Coram. It was this interest that led her into academia, first studying with the Open University, and now at the Institute of Historical Research, London. After completing a Research Masters with a dissertation looking at the education and preparation of the foundling children for the world of work, she is now studying for a PhD. Her current research aims to be a new institutional history, exploring how the Hospital was established and maintained, through the lens of ideas regarding reputation and respectability. In addition, Bright can sometimes be found working as a Museum Assistant.

Can you help?
We hope you enjoyed this talk. Covid-19 has devastated our income from admissions, tours, events, retail and venue hire. As an independent charity, we are relying even more heavily on donations to deliver our exhibitions, events and creative work with disadvantaged children. We would be so grateful for any contribution as every donation, no matter what the size, makes a real difference. Thank you.