The Garden Guide

Book: London Parks and Gardens, 1907
Chapter: Chapter 12 Historical Gardens

Foundling Hospital - Coram Fields

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The Foundling Hospital has large green courts, on which the merry but sombrely-clad little children are seen running about, through the fine iron gates which face Guildford Street. This was founded in 1739 by Captain Thomas Coram, who gave so much of his wealth to objects of charity and philanthropy that a subscription had to be raised to support him in his old age. Theodore Jacobson (died 1772) was the architect of the building. A colonnade runs round the whole length of the forecourt up to the gates, part of which is used as laundries, or other things necessary to the institution. A writer in 1773 describes the "large area between the gates and the hospital" as "adorned with grass plats, gravel walks, and lamps erected upon handsome posts: beside which there are two convenient gardens," and exactly the same description holds good to-day. Brunswick Square lies to the west, and Mecklenburgh Square to the east, so the Hospital grounds are still airy. There is a small garden at the back of the building in front of the Infirmary; on the east is the Treasurer's Garden, a fair-sized enclosure, and on the other side, with the poplars growing in Brunswick Square overhanging it, lies the other and larger of the two "convenient gardens." There is nothing old-fashioned or attractive in these gardens left; merely a green lawn, a weeping ash, and a few commonplace "bedding-out" plants; not altogether in keeping wich the age or dignity of the building and spacious forecourt. [Coram's Fields is a large open space in the London borough of Camden in central London, England. Its occupies seven acres in Bloomsbury and includes a children's playground, sand pits, a duck pond, a pets corner, cafT and nursery. Adults (defined as anyone over the age of 16) are only permitted to enter if accompanied by children (under 16). It was the former site of the Foundling Hospital, established by Thomas Coram in Lambs Conduit Fields in 1739. Wikipedia, 2007]