Plaque: Foundling pavement plaque
The pavement within this line is the property of the Governors of the Foundling Hospital.
We had spotted this unusual plaque in 2015 but put it on the long finger. Then Timothy Evers noticed it in 2021 and prompted us to publish.
The "line" to which it refers may be an imaginary extension of the length of the plaque, marking the boundary of the Foundling Estate. We've found a number of boundary markers (e.g. Highbury) but they are normally stones laid into walls, not metal plaques laid into pavements.
The UCL Bloomsbury Project has a splendid page on the Foundling Estate: "The Governors of the Hospital had been forced to buy much more land (56 acres in total) than was actually needed for the orphanage itself, and by the late eighteenth century, when the Hospital faced a shortage of funds, residential development of the surplus land became its best financial option." The Project goes on to describe the opposition and the difficulties faced by this development. There is a list of all the streets in the Estate and a graphic showing the approximate location of the estate. We just wish they had a map showing the exact extent of the Estate.
With that map it would be easy to walk the boundary looking for more of these pavement plaques. If any one feels moved to process the list of streets to identify the boundary and then to do the inspection walk, please do report your findings here.
The British Library hold a map showing the land belonging to the Foundling Hospital in 1763. Heathcote Street is not marked but the land it would occupy is shown fully within the boundary. This suggests that that parcel of land was sold off before the plaque was laid. Call the map up in Old Maps Online and you can see it overlaid on the current street layout.
Site: Drinking trough and Foundling estate (2 memorials)
WC1, Gray's Inn Road
The Foundling plaque is in Heathcote Street, in our photo it is in the pavement just to the right of the pedestrian (on his left).