March 4, 2012


I watched a programme on the BBC recently which showed The Foundling Hospital, set up in the eighteenth century, where mothers took or abandoned their babies either because they were unmarried or just too poor to keep them. It showed rows of children, girls on one side, all dressed exactly the same, and boys on the other. They interviewed one man who’d been brought up there and he said the feeling of being rejected had never left him. All the children used to dream of their mothers coming to collect them one day, but it didn’t happen to him and very rarely did to any of the others. I come from a large family. We hardly had two pennies to rub together and my parents weren’t very demonstrative, but I can’t imagine what these children went through, not ever having anybody to cuddle them or kiss them better when they fell over. Of course they were better off there than being brought up in squalor, where they would probably have died in infancy, but it makes me appreciate my own childhood, simple as it was. I suppose in a way, it’s lucky for many of today’s youngsters that unmarried motherhood isn’t frowned upon like it was then. At least they receive the love and attention those foundlings were deprived of.







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