University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Early Modern Economic and Social History Seminars > Foundling Hospital Children and their Employment, c. 1750-1850: Some Preliminary Findings

Foundling Hospital Children and their Employment, c. 1750-1850: Some Preliminary Findings

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This paper presents preliminary findings on the occupational destination of children whose upbringing was co-ordinated by the London Foundling Hospital and its satellite institutions. This is the first attempt at applying quantitative and qualitative methods to the analysis of c. 5,800 apprenticeship records which were kept with remarkable diligence by the Hospital’s Governors and administrators during the first century of the Hospital’s existence. The industrial-scale ‘processing’ of infants and their progress through the systems created and overseen by the Hospital’s Governors, including the period of ‘General Admission’ when the charity was funded by direct government grant, makes it possible to gauge the geographical distribution, and occupational grouping, of foundling hospital children with some precision, using records for first, sometimes multiple, apprenticeships. Linking the foundling apprentice database with GIS software and a modified form of PST coding makes it possible to map the distribution and occupational clustering of foundlings.

This talk is part of the Early Modern Economic and Social History Seminars series.

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