The Foundling Museum tells the intriguing story of a sailor (Thomas Coram), a painter (William Hogarth), a musician (Handel) and their role in the foundation of Britain’s first home for abandoned children.
Eighteenth century London was a squalid and miserable place for much of the population. 75% of children died before the age of 5 years – 90% of those in the workhouse.
The Foundling Hospital was established in 1739 after a long campaign by philanthropist Coram.
George Frideric Handel conducted concerts to raise funds. Hogarth persuaded artists to donate work hoping to attract wealthy and cultured donors. This led to the first public art gallery in London, and the founding of the Royal Academy.
The Foundling Museum is well worth a visit. It paints a vivid picture of Georgian London with its gin shops and rookeries.
The tokens left by mothers forced to leave their children are heartbreaking and memorable.
There are some fine paintings on display, and an important collection of material relating to Handel.
The museum cafe is bright and airy, with large windows overlooking Brunswick Square. It is clean and fresh, with smart chrome chairs and wooden floors. They offer a choice of Twinings teas and infusions. I enjoyed a pot of English Breakfast tea. The teabag had a label that said ‘bright and refreshing’, which it was. As was the cafe.
The Foundling Museum is only two minutes from the popular Brunswick Centre. You don’t need to visit the museum to use the cafe, so it is handy place to know for a quiet cuppa in Bloomsbury.
|Price of a Cuppa :||£2.20|
|Leaf or Bag :||Bag Twinings English Breakfast|
|Crockery :||White china teapot, cup and saucer|
|Service :||Self-service. Friendly|
|Kitty says:||Beautiful light space, with large windows overlooking Brunswick Square|
|Address:||The Foundling Museum, 40 Brunswick Square, WC1N 1AZ|
|Website:||Foundling Museum Cafe|
*Interesting Daily Mail article about life in Georgian London here
More Places for Tea in Bloomsbury:
Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens exhibition at Foundling Museum
There is a fascinating temporary exhibition on the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens (ends 9th Sept 2012), which features this painting by Francis Hayman of Jonathan Tyers and his family – keen to show how fashionable they were by taking tea!
National Portrait Gallery, use of image adheres to terms of Creative Commons License.