1771 UK letter to Foundling Hospital London, 2 children apprentices

$110.00 CAD

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Interesting letter from Mr. Myers, surgeon in Prescot (Lancashire) to the secretary of the Foundling (Orphans) Hospital in Bloomsbury London. He is looking for a boy and a girl to be apprentices for him. The reply back is negative.

At this time the secretary was Thomas Collingwood, who held the post from 1757-1790.

Prescott 25 July 1771
I should be glad to have a Boy and a girl from your Hospital if you had any fit for Apprenticing. I want a Boy for to wait at Table and clean boots and shoes and bring a horse to Pasture. The girl I wanted to take care of a young Child. If you have any that you believe will suit me will take them immediately. You will please to send me an answer by return of post and you will oblige
Yr Hble Serv.
Rog. Myers
Direct for M. Myers Surgeon in Prescott Lancashire

Addressed to:

The Secretary of the Foundling Hospital London

Note written on front of envelope:

R Myers 25 july 1771 Resp 27--  Ans. him that there are not any children fit for his purpose

Red circular stamp ‘POST PAID’ and handwritten “Post Paid” on front. Stamped  ‘PRESCOT’ on back

Tears where opened.

4 pages folded into an envelope.


The Foundling Hospital in London, England, was founded in 1739 by the philanthropic sea captain Thomas Coram. It was a children's home established for the "education and maintenance of exposed and deserted young children." The word "hospital" was used in a more general sense than it is in the 21st century, simply indicating the institution's "hospitality" to those less fortunate. Nevertheless, one of the top priorities of the committee at the Foundling Hospital was children's health, as they combated smallpox, fevers, consumption, dysentery and even infections from everyday activities like teething that drove up mortality rates and risked epidemics. With their energies focused on maintaining a disinfected environment, providing simple clothing and fare, the committee paid less attention to and spent less on developing children's education. As a result, financial problems would hound the institution for years to come, despite the growing "fashionableness" of charities like the hospital.

At sixteen girls were generally apprenticed as servants for four years; at fourteen, boys were apprenticed into a variety of occupations, typically for seven years. There was a small benevolent fund for adults.