Her Majesty to Visit Coram to Open The Queen Elizabeth II Centre

Queen Elizabeth II during a visit to the Lexicon shopping centre in Bracknell.


Wednesday 5th December 2018

Her Majesty The Queen will visit Coram’s central London campus on 5th December 2018 to open The Queen Elizabeth II Centre – a national centre of excellence for children named in Her Majesty’s honour.

As the UK’s oldest children’s charity, Coram has been helping vulnerable children since 1739. The Queen Elizabeth II Centre has been launched as a celebration of the 350th anniversary of the birth of the founder, Thomas Coram, who campaigned for 17 years before the Royal Charter was issued in 1739. The charter established Coram as The Foundling Hospital – the first home in London to care for abandoned babies and vulnerable children.

Coram’s new Queen Elizabeth II Centre will bring together specialist organisations to share infrastructure, ideas and expertise for a common vision dedicated to the promotion of children’s rights and best practice.

Her Majesty will arrive on the site of the original Foundling Hospital in front of the statue of Thomas Coram. During a tour of the campus, The Queen will view the Royal Charter and meet children and families who have benefited from Coram’s services including Mr Edward Newton, aged 104, the oldest surviving pupil from The Foundling Hospital.

At The Queen Elizabeth II Centre, Her Majesty will meet people involved in the building construction alongside supporters of Coram, including Sir Trevor McDonald and David and Carrie Grant. In the new Lecture Hall, The Queen will watch a performance and unveil a plaque to formally open the new Queen Elizabeth II Centre. Upon departure, Her Majesty will hang a decoration on Coram’s Christmas tree.

The Queen first visited Coram in 1936 as a young princess with her grandmother Queen Mary and her sister Princess Margaret. Her Majesty also visited in 1975 and 2009.

The Coram story began more than 275 years ago when it was established by Thomas Coram as the Foundling Hospital, London’s first home for babies whose mothers were unable to care for them.

Coram began a campaign to create a home for these babies by enlisting the support of leading members of the aristocracy, the city, the arts and the sciences though a series of petitions. Early supporters of the Coram’s endeavors included the composer George Frideric Handel, the artist William Hogarth and author Charles Dickens.

Thomas Coram’s 17-year campaign was brought to the attention of King George II who signed a Royal Charter on 17 October 1739 for the creation of the Foundling Hospital in Bloomsbury, London, then surrounded by fields.

Mothers brought their babies to the Foundling Hospital to be cared for, with many hopeful that their circumstances would change so they could one day reclaim them. The Hospital arranged for foster families to care for the babies and young children until the age of five. They were then brought to live and be educated in the Foundling Hospital until the age of 15, many being trained for domestic or military service.

The charity evolved to begin pioneering work in adoption, early years and parenting from its original London site. The Thomas Coram Foundation for Children, today known as Coram, developed new approaches to childcare and education, informed by developments in child psychiatry which highlighted the importance of children’s emotional wellbeing and need for secure family placement.

Over the centuries, more than 25,000 children’s lives were saved. Today, as the children’s charity Coram, Thomas Coram’s legacy continues by creating better chances for thousands of children across the UK.

The Queen Elizabeth II Centre was made possible by the donations from a number of supporters, led by The Queen’s Trust and the Rangoonwala Foundation.

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