The Foundling Hospital, an orphanage, was established in 1742 on Bloomsbury Fields, north of Great Ormond Street and west of Gray's Inn Lane. Its founder was Thomas Coram, a retired sea captain.
Although a foundling, strictly speaking, was a deserted or abandoned child of unknown parentage, the hospital was for illegitimate children who would otherwise have spent their lives in the workhouse; they were, therefore, often brought to the hospital by their own mothers.
The hospital remained in use until 1926, when it was relocated to Hertfordshire.
Today, memories of the Foundling Hospital are kept alive in the Foundling Museum which is situated adjacent to the original hospital site in Brunswick Square.