The Royal Family and Coram’s Fields

The Royal Family and Coram’s Fields

As we mark the passing of Queen Elizabeth II with her funeral today, we’re taking a look back at our connection with the Royal Family and recognising their vital contribution to helping Coram’s Fields achieve our core mission.

Coram’s Fields’ first connection to the Royal Family dates back to 1739 when King George II granted a royal charter to Thomas Coram to establish the foundling hospital for the ‘education and maintenance of exposed and deserted young children’. This charter allowed the hospital to open its doors for abandoned and illegitimate children and become a pioneer in a number of interventions in the field of public health, inoculating all admitted children against smallpox.

The connection between the foundling hospital and the royal family continued when George V and Queen Mary visited in 1926, shortly before the hospital was closed and the site sold to a property developer. The community launched an appeal to save the site for local children which was helped immensely by high-profile support provided by Queen Mary who had taken a very strong interest in the saving of the Foundling Site.

The official opening of Coram’s Fields and the Harmsworth Memorial Playground took place on Tuesday 21st July 1936 at noon. HRH The Duchess of York, standing in for Queen Mary, opened the site to the public at a ceremony attended by thousands of people, many of whom had been eagerly awaiting the opening of a space that for so many years, had been condemned to inevitable redevelopment. The opening ceremony took place in the new, central pavilion, erected by the 1st Viscount Rothermere in memory of his two sons who fell in the Great War. Before and during the Duchess of York’s arrival a band played a selection of songs, in which the 4,000 children, who gathered from 21 elementary schools, took part.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The influence that the royals have had on our history, from the granting of the charter in 1739 all the way to the support provided to the appeal in 1936, is certainly significant. Queen Elizabeth II undoubtedly continued that tradition, lending her support and patronage to countless charities and causes throughout her historic 70-year reign. We are thankful to the Queen and royal family for their unwavering service and for enabling Coram’s Fields to continue Thomas Coram’s vision, providing a haven for play for children and young people in London.