Voices Through Time

Welcome to our June newsletter!

It's good to have you with us. 
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Key information  

Welcome information

Queries: Write your question in Talk
Our team is part-time.
We will always get back to your question as soon as we can.  
All about the project

Would you like to continue volunteering and stay in touch?
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This month 

819  record pages completed 
51  new people transcribing 
355  Talk comments  
2,458  pages transcribed

Each page is completed once it has been transcribed three separate times.
It's then compiled together into a final transcription, to ensure best quality.

New! Transcriber Hub!

Since we have so many lovely volunteers we wanted to create an area especially for you. 

Introducing our Transcriber Hub! 

This is a dedicated area of our website to share what’s happening with the records, to show your stories and experiences, and to share how many pages we’ve transcribed each month.  

Check it out here

What would you like to see on the hub? Tell us your suggestions!  

What’s in a Name? Live Performance

Join us for a personal exploration of the story of care, through spoken word and performance! 

Using stories from our Foundling Hospital archive as inspiration, 12 care-experienced young people will be presenting a performance exploring their own identities. They'll be using spoken word, music and rap, led by rapper and artist Ric Flo. 

We are delighted to be able to share this culmination of hard work and creativity with you from young people on the Voices Through Time: The Story of Care project.  

The performances take place on Thursday 8 and Friday 9 July.

Click here to book your ticket 

Update from our Volunteer Coordinator

We are nearly at completion of the Nursery Books and now over half way through transcribing the Inspection Books! 

The Inspection Books 
These are in three volumes and cover the period 1749-1764. They are a record of the voluntary inspectors set up by the Foundling Hospital, who would visit nurses and the children they were looking after, to make sure they were caring for the child as they should. 

The upcoming Petition Letters 
The Petition Letters are nearly ready to be transcribed!
These are heart-rending letters from mothers petitioning for their children to be taken into the Foundling Hospital. Each of these include the mothers’ reasons why they are appealing to the governors for their child to be admitted, and show the variety of difficult circumstances that many women found themselves in. They paint a moving picture of life for many at the time.  

New transcribing task for Petition Letters
We can’t wait to show you the new tool we’re going to be using to transcribe these letters...
Instead of transcribing text into individual boxes using prompts, as we have been doing with many of the registers, we’ll be transcribing text line by line. 

With this new tool you’ll be able to transcribe each line in the letter yourself, by marking and annotating what you see. This means that you’ll be able to view your work as you go along. It’s a satisfying way to transcribe and we think you’re going to really enjoy it! 

Molly O'Doherty, Voices Through Time Volunteer Coordinator


The Kid 100th Anniversary Screenings 

Join us for two intimate screenings at the legendary Wilton Music Hall to mark the centenary of Charlie Chaplin's The Kid.

The Kid relates an eternal story, captures a personal experience and is one of the first cinematic representations of child poverty and the story of care.
 Chaplin was born in London and spent time in several workhouses. The streets of London in the late 19th Century were harsh and unrelenting. The only option for a mother fallen on hard times was the Charity Hospital: The first caption of the film being “The Woman whose sin was motherhood” and to leave a note with a child on the street, in this case saying “Please love and care for this orphan child”. 

The screenings will take place at Wilton's Music Hall, the oldest surviving music hall in the world, on Wednesday 7 July at 5pm and 8.30pm. 

To book a ticket at the volunteer price of £20, email Coram's David Mendez at:  

To read more about the event click here

Our talks and events  

You can always attend online events for free as a volunteer.   
See here for new events and to watch recordings of past talks. 

Our volunteers on screen! 

As this month kicked off with Volunteers’ Week, we have taken this as an opportunity to celebrating all our amazing volunteers on the project.

Thank you for sending us a video about you and your experience of transcribing. It's been really moving to 'meet' you on screen and to hear how the Foundling Hospital records have captured your interest. 

Many of your recordings have been brought together in a short video, which we are using to share the wonderful things taking place on the project. 
See below for a link to the video.

In the coming months we'll be sharing more videos and clips from you on our website and social media. Watch this space!

Hundreds of volunteers are helping children’s charity Coram

Voices Through Time is doing so well that our funder, the National Lottery Heritage Fund, chose to showcase it on their website!  

Read the write up and watch our volunteer video here

The real Eliza Doolittles? 

Read the story of Foundlings Sabrina and Lucretia here 

Dickens’ portrayal of the care experience

Hear a care-experienced young person’s exploration of this here

Find more articles about the Foundling Hospital and the archives here
Brilliant blogs 

Writing and research from our amazing volunteers 

This month we are very lucky to have not one but TWO blog articles written by our very own transcribers, Julie and Joyce Elena! More about these below. 

We love reading blog posts written by you. They can be long or short, detailed or simple. Anything that's proved interesting for you while volunteering makes interesting reading in our book!  

You can see some of the wonderful blogs written by volunteers recently here

This month we’ve set a blog post as our challenge! See further down for more. 

June challenge

Write a blog post!

Have you had some fun on the project? We’d love to hear about it!  This month we’re calling for blog post ideas from you. 

It could be about the experience of transcribing, being a part of the project, or something more specific about the records.

Is there a name that’s got your curiosity going? Or maybe you’ve learnt something new about the Foundling Hospital? 

Send us your blog idea to 

Stories from the Talk message board   

Foundling lives 
This month we have two incredible findings from transcribers to share.  

A discovery Down Under 
While transcribing, our volunteer Julie found an entry for a Foundling: Sophia Foster, and it took her on a path of discovery. By piecing together information Julie discovered that Sophia had emigrated to Australia in the 1850s. 
Through careful digging, Julie was able to trace the story of Sophia from birth in England all the way to death in Sydney, Australia. 
Read all about it here

Stories from the Foundling infirmary 
We started the transcribing project with a pilot phase, where we transcribed the registers from the Foundling Hospital’s infirmary. 
While transcribing, our volunteer Joyce Elena tracked the records of children who were ill in the infirmary. She began to discover stories about these children and the experience of illnesses at this time. 
Read the first in this series of stories here

Tracing individual Foundlings 
Over the course of the project, and as we transcribe more and more of the records, our hope is that we’ll be able to piece together the stories of individual Foundlings. We might find a name in a General Register, then see them again in a Nursery Book, then later an Apprenticeship Register. By connecting these with other records from the time, such as birth, marriage, death and Census records we can paint a picture of the life of that Foundling.  

If you see a child that catches your eye in these records, you can make a note of their name for everyone to look out for on Talk.
Write their name in our special message board here

As we release different types of records over the next few years on this site, it will be wonderful to be able to piece together the journeys of different individuals at the Hospital. 

From Transcribathon to Half Marathon

Transcriber Hilary, whose mother was a Foundling (read more about this here),
is running a half marathon for Coram! 

I have signed up to run in the Hampton Court Palace Half Marathon
on 19 September to raise money for Coram - the wonderful charity that cared for Mum as a Foundling.They now help support children in need of fostering or adoption and beyond into adulthood. 

- Hilary 

Click below to see her donations page.

Hilary's page

Thank you 

It's great to have you with us on the project.
Thank you for transcribing, sharing and being curious

Let's keep discovering the story of care together.  #RealStoriesOfCare

Molly, Jo and the Voices Through Time team

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