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Foundling Record: William Thomas Hope

by Denise Smith 14 November

Hi Group

I wondered if anyone could point me in the right direction regarding my 92 year old friends father who was a Foundling found on steps of a church or orphanage. They gave him the surname of hope born July 1891 (this was what he was told) as apparently this was the name of the building or person that found him.

He has no birth reg here, they registered him when he was stationed in Gallipoli in the 1st world war. But I cant find a baptism for him either.

His 1st recorded Document I have is 1901 census in Gordons school Dover it states his birth as Brighton then over the top. It states Clifton he remembered staying with a Mrs Payne in Tunbridge wells until about the age of 7 before he went to the Gordon school. and his keep was paid by a trustee but we dont know who.

Would he have originally been taken to an orphanage or Hospital? And would this have been in any local Newspapers of the time?And wondering why he ended up in Dover from Brighton.

Whilst researching the affluential area of Clifton & Montpellier i found the nearby church of St Michael which at the time had high entrance steps on both sides wonder if he was found here? I may have a link but (Alfred) HOPE Patten.

found this on the St Michaels website:
Much has been written about the controversial high church practices at Saint Michael’s in the Victorian era. These continued into the 20th Century. Fr Hope Patten, who founded the Anglican shrine at Walsingham, began his spiritual life at Saint Michael’s as an altar server.
So I am thinking maybe he found him on the Church steps and this is a link with the Hope name.

In the 1901 census they were living in nearby Russell square, in 1891 they were in Surrey but could have moved to Brighton just after the 1891 census was taken, although we have his birth as July 1891 this is only what he was told, so I have been searching 1890 to 1992 any help or pointers would be greatly appreciated!


PS Have also found this, is this too much of a coincidence?

Hope Family Living at 24 Hendon Street Brighton in attached Pic you can see little steps leading up to the front door. Did they find him here sheltered from the elements and they named him after their baby William Hope? So maybe there is mentioned somewhere, that a baby was found in Hendon Street about that time?

I do hope I can get to the bottom of this for my friend maybe we will just never know

Thanks Denise