Year 5 recently experienced a very moving school trip to the Foundling Museum in Bloomsbury as part of our Victorian London topic. This building was once the home for a children’s orphanage. It is now a museum that helps to remember and explain a little more about the harsh realties of life for children growing up in Victorian London.
We arrived at the Foundling to be told about the token system. We heard how Victorian mothers who were so destitute that they could no longer care for their children were given a token. If their fortunes changed in years to come, the token was a means of then identifying their child.
Year 5 also found out about what life must have been like for a child that was living at the Foundling. It was a harsh, brutal existence. We saw examples of how the boys were trained for the military or to work on the land, whilst the girls were trained up to be servants.
Some of our pupils were able to dress up in some period piece Victorian clothes. We used this as an opportunity to try and feel empathy for the life of a poor child growing up in Victorian London. We asked Year 5 to compare and contrast this type of life with our own families in modern day South London.
The pupils learnt about the idea of being institutionalised, and how this can then have an impact on the remainder of their lives. A couple of our Year 5 pupils explain a little more about these ideas in the audioboo below.