I visited the Threads of Feeling exhibition at the Foundling Museum about a month ago. Here, belatedly, are my notes.
Between 1741 and 1756 there were about 400 “forsaken children” left at the Foundling Hospital each month. Then the hospital was granted Parliamentary funding and the number of babies rocketed to 4000, nearly half of them from outside London. Some came from as far away as Cornwall, Northumberland and Wales in the hope of finding a safe home for their infant. Parliamentary funding was discontinued in 1760 amid concerns that it was encouraging women to give up their babies too readily.
Neither the names of the mothers nor the infants was recorded; the hospital renamed the children on arrival in order to provide them with the chance of a fresh start in life. (Many mothers did name their babies and leave their names anyway.) So mothers were instructed to leave a token so that they could be reunited at a later date. Tokens included coins, rings, padlocks and keys, watch seals, coral necklaces and more – but the most common token was a fragment of textile, often clipped from the child’s clothing upon arrival.
Since babies’ clothes at the time were made from womens’ clothes – gowns, petticoats, cloaks, neckerchiefs, shifts and caps. The textile tokens left with infants would often be from the same sources, so they represent what (mostly poor) women were wearing: woollens, light worsteds (such as camblet and calimanco), linens, cottons and mixes – sometimes plain, sometimes with woven or printed patterns.
While their means might have been few and far between, women “did not live in black and white”
Towards the middle of the century printed linens and cottons made an appearance, standing in for the printed silks that the well-to-do were wearing – a trend that stimulated the technologies which kick-started the Industrial Revolution. Popular motifs – printed or stitched –
[No men’s fabrics: kerseys, fustians, thicksets, corduroys]
There was no colour-coding by gender – that is, no blue for a boy or pink for a girl. Instead, girls would wear ribbons gathered together in a “topknot” while boys would wear a “cockade”, a sort of rosette inspired by the decorations worn by military men, particularly on tricorn hats. Ribbons, a cheap and versatile accessory, were universally recognised as the currency of romance and love – particularly poignant under circumstances of separation and loss. Ribbons made up the “fairings” exchanged by lovers at festivals and on holidays. (“Oh dear, what can the matter be?” is the lament of a jilted girl waiting for her swain to return with a promised bethrothal gift of blue ribbons.)
Embroidered figures were also common – acorns, butterflies and birds and flowers being relatively common — symbols of renewal. Letters ranging from articulate to scrawlings, too. Only in about half of the cases is there evidence of maternal dismay; but then on the other hand, only in a few cases is there evidence of neglect. Very few of the babies were ever reclaimed; in fact, the majority – perhaps two-thirds – died before reaching adulthood.
underwater concert: directionality erased, truly ambient sound: music as a medium in which we sing/swim http://bit.ly/eAGn48
Pet Shop Boys’ collaboration with choreographer Javier de Frutos: not my thing. But oddly moved at the spontaneous ovation for Neil Tennant, who was incognito in the circle. One of the exceedingly small number of people I’d call my heroes. http://www.sadlerswells.com/show/Pet-Shop-Boys-and-Javier-De-Frutos
These are my links for February 13th from 10:19 to 18:30:
These are my links for February 14th from 08:40 to 21:15:
- So who wants to run our libraries? – Assorted, mostly pathetic, alternative providers
- The George Inn, Southwark, London SE1 1NH – Pubs.com Passionate about Pubs – Giant coaching inn
- Ye Olde Mitre Tavern, Farringdon, London pub guide | fancyapint? – A little bit of Cambridgeshire in the City of London
- Public houses in London Topics at DuckDuckGo – hic
- Top Sites: The 500 Most Important Websites on the Internet –
- IpcressFile_17.jpg (JPEG Image, 696×297 pixels) –
- Immigration officer sacked for putting wife he didn’t like on terror watch list – Why "If you've got nothing to hide…" is nonsense, part the umpteenth
- ‘Death by GPS’ in Death Valley – "People don't realize that if they tell the unit to find the shortest route to somewhere, it's not necessarily finding the shortest, safe, paved route"
These are my links for February 15th from 18:09 to 18:09:
These are my links for February 15th from 21:11 to 21:11:
- City of Seeds – Lapham’s Quarterly – "it has no native habitat but the street" – City of Seeds [MN]
These are my links for February 17th from 08:51 to 11:07:
These are my links for February 22nd from 08:20 to 12:02:
These are my links for February 18th from 08:18 to 14:26:
- Julian Dibbell, This article gives the outlines of a realist… – "I will defend a weird realism." Best. Philosophy-paper abstract. Ever.
- Artificial Empathy – Blog – BERG – 'Artificial Empathy', from @moleitau: (cc @firepile, @aeromenthe)
- The Word of Mouth KFC challenge – "why, it's like comparing iced tea and crystal meth"
- Is This the Real Thing? Coca-Cola’s Secret Formula Discovered by This American Life – Time to change the formula for OpenCola
- HiLobrow | Middlebrow is not the solution –
These are my links for February 19th from 12:27 to 23:03:
- A Way With Words | moo.com – Text-based ideas for business cards
- Daily Kos: UPDATED: The HB Gary Email That Should Concern Us All – "Persona management". Today's dose of Newspeak that should worry you
- Last.fm Tumblr Weekly Top Artists – Joe Lazarus –
- as3sfxr –
These are my links for February 20th from 09:57 to 21:55:
- Edgelands – Remaking the Landscape (.pdf) – Interfacial landscapes and their virtues
- Flavorwire » 10 Anonymous Works of Fiction That Changed Society – The Autobiography of a Flea, and others
- Yale Alumni Magazine: Anonymous was a Woman – "Your favorite famous quotation: was it by Voltaire? Yogi Berra? Or some woman you’ve never heard of?"
- IanVisits » A trip with the archaeologists on the River Thames – Exploring Anglo-Saxon, Bronze Age and Mesolithic remains at low tide…
- The officially Comics Archetype Times Table – Robot x Platypus, Lincoln x Ninja
- Inuit’s risky mussel harvest under sea ice – On the sea bed, under the ice
- Hypothetical Planets & Moons of the Solar System – The lost moons of Mercury, Venus and Earth… and more
These are my links for February 21st from 03:55 to 17:02:
- Shady Characters » Colophon –
- Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space | Brain Pickings – Priceless 9-minute animated adaptation of Carl Sagan's iconic Pale Blue Dot
These are my links for 24th-25th February 2011:
- The Loneliest Whale in the World – Culture – GOOD -Bit late to the game; I wrote a story about this a couple of years ago
- How online dating will make slaves of us all : SciencePunk -& I for one salute our OKCupid overlords
- Return to the Silence: Is theatre exposing the gutlessness of TV science?
- Magazero -Global zines, local delivery
- How one man tracked down Anonymous — and paid a heavy price –
- Many Endings – Ends of the world, year by year
- Serious Business: Anonymous Takes On Scientology (and Doesn’t Afraid of Anything) | Baltimore City Paper – Still the article I most wish I’d written
- Crazy Characters Help Indie Bands Outsmart Google | Magazine –
- WordPress › WP Emphasis « WordPress Plugins – Implementation of the New York Times script which allows users to highlight and link to specific body text
- Fairy tales from the lab. The Master of Sweet Dreams by Andrew Ivortow –
- Hashbang URIs – They’re not as bad as you think; really. – #! !
- FoldingStory | The Group Storytelling Game – exquisite corpses, v.Umpteen.0
- Thank You for Seven Years of Worldchanging –
- Gift a Stranger – Random acts of kindness, 2.0
- Launching Films – Film Distributors’ Association – UK release dates
- New Urban Mechanics –
- The Fox Is Black » Getting Lost – Links between architecture and cognitive sciences: getting lost in buildings
These are my links for March 2nd through March 4th:
- Absurd Sign Generator Lets the Whole Family Prank Westboro Baptist Church –
- b3ta.com board –
- SSRN-‘I’ve Got Nothing to Hide’ and Other Misunderstandings of Privacy by Daniel Solove –
- 100 best first lines from novels –
- Juno Plus – Juno Plus Podcast 03 – Legowelt | Mixcloud – Re-think radio – RT @junoplus Just uploaded "Juno Plus Podcast 03 – Legowelt" to @mixcloud Tune in now!
- Daydreams Of The Wire Children: Fuck The Singularity – All kinds of excellent. 'Fuck the Singularity': #sciencefiction #futures (@PaulGrahamRaven)
- IanVisits – A map of London’s public toilets – Introducing… A map of London’s public toilets
- Joe Moran’s blog – New blog post on the Edgelands:
These are my links for March 4th through March 5th:
These are my links for March 9th from 08:38 to 08:38:
These are my links for March 14th from 08:28 to 14:19:
These are my links for March 15th from 16:18 to 16:42:
These are my links for March 23rd from 18:49 to 18:49:
These are my links for March 24th from 08:01 to 08:01:
These are my links for March 26th from 07:47 to 07:47:
These are my links for March 9th through March 10th:
- Google tracks you. We don’t. An illustrated guide. –
- BBC – BBC Radio 4 Programmes – In Our Time, Free Will –
- BBC – BBC Radio 4 Programmes – It Is Rocket Science, Episode 1 –
- Stupid EU cookie law will hand the advantage to the US, kill our startups stone dead – The problem of technically illiterate legislation, new EU cookie laws hurt the web: #eu #digital
These are my links for March 10th from 16:58 to 19:18:
- Artist Buys Landscape Paintings from Yard Sales, Inserts Monsters | Geekosystem – Artist Buys Landscape Paintings from Yard Sales, Inserts Monsters
- North Korean children’s guitar ensemble performs "Our Kindergarten Teacher" – Boing Boing – This is both a unicorn chaser and something that REQUIRES a unicorn chaser (via @ericwareheim)
- Deb Roy: The birth of a word | Video on TED.com – Today's #TED: Deb Roy on the birth of a word. Quite simply, astonishing:
These are my links for March 30th from 12:22 to 12:22: