Thomas Coram, Gent.: 1668-1751
Thomas Coram is forever identified with the foundling hospital he established in 1739. His mother died when he was 3 years old and he was sent to sea aged 11 so he had much in common with the abandoned children he helped save and give a home to. A strong believer in women's rights and equal opportunities for girls, he believed that it was due to the unique support of a group of aristocratic women - twenty-one ladies of quality and distinction - that he was granted a royal charter for his foundling hospital. Within two years of the establishment of the hospital, Coram fell out with the governors and was ejected from the governing body. His last years were clouded by disagreements and poverty, but a pension, granted in 1749, finally signalled recognition of his achievements. He died in 1751 and was buried in the chapel of his hospital.