The Collections are Moving House

The collections of the Royal College of Midwives are cared for by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and have been since 2012. The collections compliment each other perfectly and will continue to do so, but, as of later this year, from a new location. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists have been…

Zepherina Smith – International Women’s Day 2019

In celebration of International Women’s Day 2019 this post brings you a short biography of Zepherina Smith (1836-1894), the inspirational woman who became the first president of the Royal College of Midwives. Zepherina Philadelphia Veitch was born in 1836 and was the daughter of  a clergyman. As a young woman she trained as a nurse…

Christmas in the Archives

Christmas in the Archives at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Royal College of Midwives   As a way to demonstrate the variety of material we have in the Archive and to have a bit of fun in the festive season we searched the collections to see what we have relating to…

The Royal Maternity Charity and the First World War

The Royal Maternity Charity and the First World War On the Anniversary of the end of the First World War it seemed pertinent to look at the collections in relation to this. It might not seem an obvious connection, midwifery and the First World War, but we cannot forget that this was something which affected…

New collections: the life of Miriam Hiddy

Nurse and Midwife: Miriam Hiddy A couple of months ago a personal collection was sent to us in the post. It was sent through by a charity. A past chairman of this charity had recently passed away and his relatives were sorting through his papers. Amongst his own papers this collection was discovered. It appears…

A 19th Century Man-Midwife

A 19th Century Man-Midwife   A couple of months ago we acquired a wonderful donation in the form of two books written by Dr Philip Lawrence Hill in the 1800s. One, written in 1824 appears to be a completely hand-transcribed copy of a medical book. The other is a case register of a doctor and…

International Day of the Midwife

International Day of the Midwife The International Day of the Midwife is celebrated annually on the 5th May. It is now in its 27th year, having begun in 1992. The theme for this year is: Midwives leading the way with quality care In celebration of this it seemed a good opportunity to share a few photographs…

Word of the Month: Bossi Dilator

Our Word of the Month for April is Bossi’s Dilator. One glance is all you need to tell that a Bossi Dilator is a pretty grim looking instrument. Dating back to late 19th century, the Bossi dilator was used to open the cervix during examinations and childbirth.  This model was designed by L.M. Bossi, professor…

Word of the Month: Breast Pump

This time Word of the Month is a familiar one: Breast Pump Breast pumps are manual or electronically powered devices used by mothers to encourage lactation. They can be used to stimulate lactation for those with trouble breastfeeding or they can be used to extract milk to be placed in a bottle for a later…

Edith Mary Pye (1876-1965) Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur

This International Women’s Day we recognise the heroic efforts of Edith Pye, midwife, Quaker, humanitarian and International Relief Organizer. Edith Mary Pye was one of the earliest certified midwives, having qualified in 1906 at Clapham School of Midwifery, and she served as President of the Royal College of Midwives between 1928 and 1949. But it…

Word of the Month: Walcher’s Position

Walcher’s Position is a technique used in labour where the mother reclines with her back supported and her legs dangling. This technique was used to encourage the pelvis to open a fraction wider. The position can be held for a limited number of contractions and can ease the delivery of a baby that may be…

Word of the Month: de Ribes Bag

Welcome to the RCM Heritage Blog’s newest feature: Word of the Week. In it we take an entry from The Midwife’s Pronouncing Dictionary and Encyclopaedia, beginning with the 1929 edition, and provide some historical context using the museum, archive and library collections of the Royal College of Midwives.