About the object

A unique token

The admission form for a boy renamed John Goring by the Hospital describes how he was left with “the handell of a penknife for a tocking”. It’s been relatively easy to match the child and token because this is the only such object in the whole collection. Sadly John died shortly after arriving at the Hospital.

General Reception

When the Hospital first opened, it performed medical checks on children before admitting them, only accepting healthy babies. But between 1756–60, the Hospital received support from Parliament on the condition that it admitted all children left in its care. This token was left during this period, known as the ‘General Reception’.

Admitted ‘in a dying state’

As a result of the new ‘General Reception’ policy, the Hospital saw a sudden influx of sick children, some ‘admitted in a dying state’. Parents may have made this choice because they knew that the Hospital had some of the leading doctors acting as Governors and overseeing the care of the children. At the very least, the Hospital would give their child a decent burial, which the parents might not have been able to afford.

Hear a personal response to this token on the Take this Token podcast: