Skip to main content

Exhibition explores legacy of adoption of children of unmarried mothers between 1949 and 1976

24 November 2022

On Monday 28 November, the Joint Committee on Human Rights opens an exhibition to highlight the experiences of unmarried mothers in the adoption system between 1949 and 1976. 

During this time, it is estimated that 185,000 children were taken from unmarried mothers and put in the adoption system. Unmarried women and girls who became pregnant during these decades were seen as having brought shame on themselves and their families. Babies were taken from their mothers, who did not want to let them go. 

Earlier this year, the Joint Committee published a report calling on the Government to issue a formal apology for the ongoing trauma these actions have caused. Over the course of their inquiry, they heard from 142 people and organisations who set out the fear that unmarried women and girls felt, and the role of institutions in hiding what was regarded as a shameful situation rather than providing emotional and medical support. They spoke of the life-long suffering, lasting impact on their mental health and challenges in forming future relationships. This exhibition focusses on these stories. 

Event details

The exhibition will take place in the Upper Waiting Hall in the House of Commons from Monday 28 November and closes at 5pm on Thursday 1 December. 

Further information

Image: Unsplash/Aditya Romansa