Childcare, health and mortality in the London Foundling Hospital, 1741–1800

'Left to the mercy of the world'
Levene, Alysa
Date published: 
December 2012

Newly available in paperback, this thorough and engaging examination of an institution and its young charges is set in the wider social, cultural, demographic and medical context of the eighteenth century. By examining the often short lives of abandoned babies, Levene illustrates the variety of pathways to health, ill-health and death taken by the young and how it intersected with local epidemiology, institutional life and experiences of abandonment, feeding and child-care. Child fostering, paid nursing and family formation in different parts of England are also examined, showing how this metropolitan institution called on a network of contacts to try to raise its charges to good health. Of significance to scholars working in economic and social history, medical and institutional history and histories of childhood and childcare in the early modern period, the book will also appeal to anthropologists interested in child-rearing and feeding practices, and inter-family relationships.