Foundling Home, Moscow, Russia, Russia

Moscow's Foundling Home or Orphanage was founded in 1763, in was an ambitious scheme conceived by Catherine the Great and Ivan Betskoy to house and educate abandoned children, to turn them into model citizens.

In 1781, the home moved into the first stage of what was to become a massive building, on the north bank of the Moskva River, at Moskvoretskaya Embankment. The buildings were enlarged in the 1820s and again in the 1930s, eventually having a frontage of 379 metres.

Foundling Home, Moscow, Russia, c.1917. © Peter Higginbotham

In its early years, the home suffered form a very high level of infant mortality. Of the 40,996 children admitted to the Orphanage during Catherine's reign, 35,309 (87%) died during their stay there.

Children lived at the Orphanage until the age of 11, when most were sent for training to local factories and government offices.

The home was closed immediately after in the Russian Revolution in 1917. The premises were subsequently occupied by Soviet trade unions and then by the Dzerzhinsky Military Academy and a long succession of other state institutions. The buildings now house the Academy of Missile Forces and Russian Academy of Medicine. There are plans to house the Russian Parliament at the site.

Records

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  • None identfied at present — any information welcome.

Bibliography

  • None identified at present.