This excursion will be back soon. In the meantime we’d be happy to organise a private tour for you. Please contact us on 020 7624 3978 | privatewalks@walks.com to make a booking.

Thomas Coram & the Orphans of Georgian London

Tottenham Court Road underground station, London (exit 1)

Guided by

The artist William Hogarth knew all about St Giles, where Georgian London's poorest eked out a miserable existence. We start this walk in St Giles' parish, taking in the exact spot where Hogarth imagined Gin Lane, his best-known work. The star of the show is Hogarth's friend, Thomas Coram, a man with a plan to help destitute mothers and to save their children from, as he put it, "The inhuman custom of exposing New-Born Children to perish in the Streets, or training them up in Idleness, Beggary and Theft." We'll find out how Coram made friends and influenced people, some of whom became campaigners against baby farmers and child chimney sweeps. We'll also learn about another famous fan of the project, George Frederic Handel. Ah, Handel's Messiah: thanks to the Foundling Hospital, Handel rescued it from obscurity and conducted a performance in the 18th century's version of Live Aid. As a result, the Hallelujah Chorus became a global hit and into the bargain provided vital funds in the hospital's hour of greatest need. Times have changed – though maybe not as much as we'd like to think – but Thomas Coram's vision of pioneering better chances for children lives on in Coram, the charity's modern name. The walk ends at Coram headquarters in Bloomsbury, next door to the Foundling Museum. So give yourself time to visit the museum's art and music collections – and its very fine little cafe.