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Foundling Book Club Event

Updated: Jun 14, 2023

Care Experience & Culture Foundling Book Club Event:
Via Zoom 11th November 2022 and live at the Foundling Museum,
London 11am UK /8.30pm Adelaide, South Australia /6am Atlanta, Georgia USA

In conjunction with the Foundling Museum, London, we are thrilled to announce a Foundling Book Club (hybrid in-person and online event) during the Being Human Festival exploring the power of first-hand accounts in the narratives of care experience.

You can see the event here:

Speakers include Foundling Museum Curator Kathleen Palmer who will talk about the Foundling Hospital and its history. We also have Justine Cowan, an American lawyer who will share what prompted her to investigate her mother’s childhood at the Foundling Hospital, and Dr Josie Pearse, a London-based artist and independent researcher into adoption history, who will speak with us about The Child She Bare (1919), by Hannah Brown, a reflection of her childhood at the Foundling Hospital from 1866 to 1881.


11.00 - Brief intro to Care Experience & Culture - 5mins (Dee)

11.05 - Introduction to the Foundling Museum by Curator Kathleen Palmer (UK) - 20 mins

11.25 – Intro to speaker (Dee Michell)

11.27 - The Secret Life of Dorothy Soames with Justine Cowan (US) - 20 mins

11.47 - Intro to speaker (Rosie Canning)

11.49 - The Child She Bare with Dr Josie Pearse (UK) - 20 mins

12.09 - Questions - 20 minutes

12.30 - Close

Justine Cowan is an American attorney and author of The New York Times Editors’ Pick, The Secret Life of Dorothy Soames, which details how Justine uncovered the true story of her mother’s upbringing at London’s Foundling Hospital. Justine’s mother was difficult and exacting. Only after her death was Justine drawn to an envelope filled with clues about a past that had never been spoken of, buried in the back of an old filing cabinet. Its contents revealed a mystery that led her across the Atlantic Ocean to discover a truth she could scarcely imagine. Justine will share her transformative journey and how it allowed her to make peace with her family’s troubled past.

Dr Josie Pearse is an artist, writer and independent researcher into adoption history. She was surrendered as a toddler and spent a period in care in a residential nursery before being adopted. Her PhD ( Backstory, writing on the cusp of life and fiction. Creative Writing Cardiff 2013) is a creative reclamation of her unrecorded orphan story.

Just over a hundred years ago an anonymous author answered a survey. It was sent out by a Select Committee looking at the regulation of child adoption. Tracking the history of adoption, Josie traced a book written by the anonymous author. She presents a reading of it as a testament to creative human resilience under the restrictions of the child welfare system.

All welcome. If you are joining online, you will need to book a free ticket. If you are coming to the museum that day, entrance is free.


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