In the late 1830s, Charles Dickens (1812–1870) lived next to the Foundling Hospital in central London. The refuge for abandoned children had been founded in 1741 by Thomas Coram (1668–1751); Coram’s charity continues to work with vulnerable children at the site today, and Coram’s Fields is now a children’s nursery and play area.

Dickens supported the Hospital in a number of ways. As well as contributing financially, he rented a pew in its chapel and referred to it and its activities many times in his fiction (such as the foundling Tattycoram in Little Dorrit, 1855–57) and non-fiction (such as his 1853 article Received, a Blank Child, the title coming from text on a child’s entry form).

Among his last works was No Thoroughfare, a stage play co-written with Wilkie Collins in 1867, and also published as a novel. The story deals with two foundlings at the Hospital given the same name, with unfortunate consequences. Shown here is part of the prompt’s copy of the script.