Sunday, 13 February 2011

Threads of feeling

Accompaning Di this weekend, we went to see Threads of Feeling- an exhibition that is showcasing fabrics never shown before to illustrate the moment of parting as mothers left their babies at the original Foundling Hospital, which continues today as the children’s charity Coram.

In the cases of more than 4,000 babies left between 1741 and 1760, a small object or token, usually a piece of fabric, was kept as an identifying record. The fabric was either provided by the mother or cut from the child’s clothing by the hospital's nurses. Attached to registration forms and bound up into ledgers, these pieces of fabric form the largest collection of everyday textiles surviving in Britain from the 18th Century.
The pictures above are rom those ledgers....not a dry eye at the exhibition!


  1. Oh my, I am so moved by this. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Danielle- Where was this amazing exhibit? How very moving and going straight to the heart. There is an orphanage in Florence, Italy that has a small museum with similar bits of identifying cloth that gave Mothers a bit of hope for later identification. The original rotating door is still in place where the Mother would place her child, ring a bell, and disappear, knowing that a nun would hear it and continue the rotation to receive the child anonymously inside the orphanage with that scrap of identification.

  3. What a heartfelt exhibit. Wish I could have seen it. So very sad. I read an article on it in Selvedge. It probably hits you harder when you see the actual artifacts.