June 1939

This month’s posting comes from the 1939 volume of ‘Nursing Notes’.

This volume was chosen completely by accident: it just happened to be one of the volumes selected by the Librarian to take to the Annual Event held by the Royal College of Midwives in York earlier this month as part of a display of library and archive material. There was so much interest from visitors at seeing this volume, that there seemed no other alternative but to blog about the wonderful and weird articles found within the pages and so reach a wider audience of midwives and interested researchers!

The excerpt below shows how the Midwives’ Institute (as it was known prior to 1947) encouraged midwives not in salaried posts to enrol with the Central Midwives Board to offer their services. By June 1939, war clouds were forming above Europe, and procedures were being put in place to protect civilians in the UK following the horrific example of air attacks during the earlier Spanish Civil War.

‘IMPORTANT: The Midwives’ Institute has read with interest the proposals made in the evacuation scheme recently issued by the Ministry of Health. The Institute has used every endeavour to put forward the urgent necessity of making adequate arrangements for attendance on pregnant women in a national emergency and has urged the need to look upon the work of midwives as work of national importance. The Institute recently sent a letter to all its Branches with the object of bringing to the notice of its members the recommendation that midwives who are not at present in salaried posts should enrol with the Central Midwives Board if they are willing to offer their services in an emergency. It is highly desirable that independent midwives should enrol since they may be needed in their own area to replace those called up for work in the services or they may be required to practise in receiving areas. In response to a request from the Central Midwives Board the Midwives’ Institute is arranging short refresher courses throughout the country to enable those midwives who require it to take such courses.’

Another event of June 1939, somewhat fitting for the recent celebrations in the UK in 2012, was the institution of the Queen (the late Queen’s Mother) as first patron of the Midwives Institute.

President’s Address, 58th Annual General Meeting of the Midwives’ Institute:

‘First and foremost we must put the fact that Her Majesty the Queen has give us her patronage. The Queen is not only the First Lady but for us the First Mother in the Land, and we are profoundly grateful to her for permitting us to serve her as our Patron.’

On a lighter note, among the list of activity undertaken by the Central Midwives Institute during this period, is the note reproduced below.

‘CENTRAL MIDWIVES BOARD: Report of Standing Committee

‘STRUCK OFF: No.72476 Guilty of misconduct having being convicted at Liverpool upon an indictment of keeping a disorderly house….’

I would love to know what is meant by ‘disorderly house’!

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Ruth says:

    a disorderly house is a brothel, isn’t it?

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