As part of Citizen Science Month 2023, we’re sharing excerpts from ‘Into the Zooniverse’, a series of books celebrating the projects and people of the Zooniverse.

You can find and download all editions of ‘Into the Zooniverse’ here.

Voices Through Time: The Story of Care

THE FOUNDLING HOSPITAL was established in 1739 as the UK’s first home for children whose parents and guardians were unable to care for them. The Hospital’s founder, Thomas Coram, was a pioneer of children’s rights and welfare. He led the way in the development of supervised foster care and in championing equal education for boys and girls. The Hospital arranged for foster families to care for the babies and young children until the age of five. They were then brought back to live and be educated at the Hospital until the age of fourteen. Many were then trained for domestic or military service and took up apprenticeships until the age of 21. Today, the Coram children’s charity continues to support vulnerable children and young people throughout the UK. Over the centuries, more than 25,000 children were admitted to the Foundling Hospital. The Hospital archive contains thousands of handwritten records, going back to the 1700s. The Voices through Time project engages the Zooniverse community in transcribing these handwritten records, including petition letters from mothers seeking entry for their children to the Hospital and the billet books with fabric tokens left by the mothers as a symbol of their love. Digitizing and transcribing these documents safeguards them for future generations and opens up opportunities for research, deepening our understanding of the story of care. 

Image credit: Voices Through Time Team

Summary by: Laura Trouille

Check out this project: here

View the full ‘Into the Zooniverse’ book: here