I’m Jo Wilkinson. I was born in University College Hospital more years ago than I’m happy to admit and I grew up locally. So Bloomsbury must be in my blood.
This year I qualified as a Camden Guide. It’s a one-year course, which is hard work but really enjoyable. I have had enormous fun learning and researching about the whole borough but I especially loved the opportunity to learn more about the Foundling Hospital, founded by Captain Coram, who, horrified by the numbers of deserted children he saw on the streets of London, was determined to do something to help. When the Hospital was built on land purchased from the Earl of Salisbury in what is now Guilford Street in the 1740s this area was open green fields.
As a small child I went to Coram’s Fields, the playground that now stands on part of the hospital site every week, probably every day in the summer. For a child growing up in a flat with no outside space it was a joy. I have happy memories of the playground, which still has the wonderful distinction of not admitting adults unless accompanied by a child.
I remember my Mother telling me that older neighbours still referred to going to Coram’s Fields as “going up the Foundling”, and they probably remembered the Hospital before it moved out in 1926.
So it’s great to see that Bloomsbury Festival includes events both at the Foundling Museum and at Coram’s Fields and I shall love doing my guided walk “Lost and Found” which will feature both. You may not recognise me from the picture though.
Camden Guides are doing three walks over the Festival and we will hope to see you there.
More info here.