Merope arrived at the orphanage in London on a bitterly cold New Year's Eve, heavily pregnant with her son. She was taken in by those at the orphanage, gave birth within the hour, and died an hour later. Before she died, Merope told Mrs Cole that she hoped her baby would look like his father, and asked for her son to be named Tom for his father, Marvolo for her father, and said that his surname was to be Riddle.
Merope took Slytherin's locket, a family heirloom, with her when she went to London. She sold the locket to Mr Burke (of Borgin and Burkes) for ten Galleons, apparently having no knowledge of its true value.