Tottenham Court Road Underground Station, Exit 2 (meet outside the Dominion Theatre)
Guided by Charlie
|9 March 2024
This walk starts in St George’s Bloomsbury where in the 1850s only six in every ten children lived to see their fifth birthday. A century earlier things were worse – the artist William Hogarth pictured the desperation as a drunken mother drops her baby in Gin Lane. It wasn’t all despair. In revisiting these streets we follow the story of Thomas Coram whose long struggle led to the setting up of a hospital for Foundlings. He was one of a small band confronting the devastating range of iniquities children were subjected to. There were boys still in the chimney, children in the workhouses for the destitute, acutely sick children with not a hospital bed to be found, boys in the prisons and for most ‘school’ was a word they would never spell. Between the slums of St Giles and the hills of Hampstead were campaigners who cared for the Foundlings, stopped the chimney sweeps, provided the hospital beds, improved the prisons, changed the workhouses, opened the schools. It’s a terrible story, it’s a moving story, it will grip you. Created and guided by Charlie.