Thomas Coram (1668?-1751), Philanthropist
Sitter associated with 7 portraits
Coram began life as a seaman, rising to the position of merchant captain. He spent ten years farming in America before returning to England in 1703. Seeing the poverty in the East End of London inspired Coram to provide a refuge for abandoned children and in 1722 he suggested the setting up of a foundling hospital. It took seventeen years before in 1739 Coram finally obtained a royal charter authorising the establishment of a hospital for foundling infants. It opened in Hatton Garden, in 1741, with twenty children, and is thought to be the world's first incorporated charity. A new purpose-built hospital was built, at Lamb's Conduit Fields, Bloomsbury, which opened in 1745.