The Museum’s Introductory Gallery tells the history of the Foundling Hospital, and every six months new items are brought in from the London Metropolitan Archives to reveal the hidden stories of those who passed through the institution. Two such tales stand out in the form of a petition to have a baby admitted into the Hospital, and a request for an apprentice.
The new petition on display was made by Nellie Oldland in 1900. Nellie met the father of her daughter, William Barratt, while visiting her uncle who ran a pub in Ancester. The uncle, William Larcher, had previously been a reading room attendant at the British Museum along with Nellie’s father, Henry, who was still employed there. Nellie’s request is accompanied by a letter from her father, who writes from the reading room at the British Museum, in support of his daughter’s petition and her desire for a fresh start in life.
The second item is a successful request from Jane Fletcher and Elizabeth Pedlar for a foundling apprentice, Frances Stringer. They were mantua [wig] makers and wished to train the girl, Frances, in their trade rather than the more usual request for a female apprentice for ‘household business’ i.e. domestic service.
These items will be on display until 7 April 2019.