Level 5 Emotional Life Students visit London’s Foundling Museum

Dr Emily Falconer and Level 5 Students on the Emotional Life module visited the Foundling Museum in Bloomsbury this afternoon, as part of the module’s fieldtrip scheduled to celebrate the end of term (Week 12). We were given a guided tour of the museum, which tracks the bleak and harrowing history of London’s many ‘abandoned’ children. Babies under two months old were brought to the Foundling hospital to be ‘given up’ by mothers who were living in wretched poverty, where infant mortality rates were rife. These were terrible times; our guide explained that since gin was understood to be an appetite suppressor, desperate mothers rubbed it on their starving infants gums to stop them crying, after their milk had dried up through lack of nutrition. But what was also striking was the amount of babies who had to be abandoned by unmarried mothers due to their illegitimacy, and it was useful to reflect on the deep rooted shame inherent in children born out of wedlock. As always, the study of emotional life can reveal how emotions are shaped by, and in turn reshape society and societal change.

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