Source 2

Guidelines on how children between the ages of five and fifteen were to be cared for whilst at the hospital. (CHAR 2/384)


‘At the age of five years the children are returned to the Hospital. They are then placed in the schools; where they are gradually accustomed to regular and early habits of order and attention…

The boys make and mend their own clothes, and are taught reading, writing, and accounts, according to the system of Dr Bell. The girls are also taught to read and write on the same principle…

The boys and girls are kept entirely separate. The elder girls are employed in household work, and assist as servants in the kitchen, laundry, and other rooms in the eastern wing of the Hospital…

The returned Children are to be clothed immediately in the dress of the Hospital. Prayers to be read in the School in the morning and in the evening. At eight o’clock the Children are to breakfast; one hour being allowed them for that purpose. The rest of the morning till twelve, is to be spent in their labour, or at school.

From twelve to two is allowed for dinner, diversion, and rest; at two, they are to return to their work, or to school, till five in the summer, and till it is dark in the winter.

From that time till supper, which is to take place at six o’clock in the evening, the Children may play in the open air, or in the covered buildings. No boy is to be suffered to go out of the Hospital gate on errands, without permission of the Committee.

On Sundays, and other days appointed for public worship, they are to be instructed in the principles of religion and morality, to attend at Chapel, to be taught the catechism used by the church of England, or heard to read such parts of the Holy Scripture as are most suitable to their understanding.

On public holidays, and at play hours, they may be allowed to divert themselves with such exercises, as will increase their strength, activity, and hardiness; but are never to be allowed to play at games of chance.

The girls are to be kept in wards, entirely separate from the boys, to be dressed plain and neat, to rise at the same hours with the boys, to clean the house, make the beds, and do the household business till the hour of breakfast; after that to be employed in school, or in making linen or clothes, or such other labour as is suitable for their age and strength…

The body linen of the Children is to be changed twice a week, and they are to have clean sheets once a month. Strong drink, coffee, and tobacco, are never to be permitted to be used by any Child in the Hospital…

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  • What happened to children when they reached the age of five? What do you think this would have been like for them?
  • Were girls and boys treated differently at the Foundling Hospital? Why did they have different duties?
  • How is this different to your experience of school?
  • How much time did children spend learning, playing or worshipping each week?
  • Children were kept separate for the purposes of their education. Why do you think this was?
  • Why was there so much emphasis on religion and attending church?
  • How did the hospital view the future for these children?