Esther Silverton (part 2): The Midwife’s Tale Oral History Collection

This week’s glimpse at The Midwife’s Tale Oral History Collection is a second extract from the interview with retired midwife Esther Silverton recorded in August 1985. In this extract Esther describes the religous tradition of ‘churching’ new mothers, and the relationship between midwives and doctors. Esther Silverton was born in Portsmouth in 1916, and trained…

Mary Wroe: The Midwife’s Tale Oral History Collection

Our next look at the recently released Midwife’s Tale Oral History Collection is an extract of an interview with Mary Wroe covering her experiences as a community midwife. Mary was born in 1908 in a Yorkshire mining village. She was a miner’s daughter and trained as a midwife in 1931 before returning to her home…

Esther Silverton: The Midwife’s Tale Oral History Collection

A retired midwife delivers an exuberant and detailed account of her first solo delivery. Esther Silverton was born in Portsmouth in 1916, and trained as a nurse, then midwife, during the Second World War having been largely deprived of educational opportunities earlier in life. Apart from an initial spell in a small maternity hospital, she…

Eve Osborn: The Midwife’s Tale Oral History Collection

The second extract from The Midwife’s Tale Oral History Collection is taken from an interview with midwife Eve Osborn, recorded in 1986. In this extract Eve describes her experiences working as a midwife on the district in Bexleyheath, in the London Borough of Bexley, during the Second World War . Interview reference: RCMS/251/8 Transcript: Interviewer:…

The Midwife’s Tale Oral History Collection

In honour of the International Day of the Midwife 2016 we are delighted to launch The Midwife’s Tales Oral History Collection. This unique and colourful series of oral history recordings and transcripts were collected and preserved by Billie Hunter and Nicky Leap while researching and writing their book, The Midwife’s Tale: an Oral History from…

Nursing Notes & Midwives’ Chronicle, March 1936

This month’s post comes from the 1936 volume of Nursing Notes & Midwives’ Chronicle, at a time when a new parliamentary bill for midwives was finally reaching the last stages before becoming a new Act to supplement those already passed in 1902 and 1926. It is probably fair to say that those representing the midwives…

Nursing Notes, December 1914

This month’s post comes from the December 1914 issue of ‘Nursing Notes’ and has been put together by Autumn, a volunteer to the RCM Archive. By the time of the First World War’s famous Christmas truce along the Western Front 100 years ago this month, Europe was fully aware that it was “face to face…

Midwives Chronicle, November 1977

This month’s post comes from the November 1977 issue of Midwives Chronicle. The front cover of the journal, showing a father present at the birth of his child, introduces one of the main themes covered in this issue, namely a debate on whether a father’s presence is conducive to the birth or an impediment. Father…

Nursing Notes and Midwives’ Chronicle, 1927

This month’s post comes from the October 1927 issue of the Nursing Notes and Midwives’ Chronicle. Sadly the 1927 volume of the journal held here in the library of the Royal College of Midwives is a photocopy – possibly an indication of the library’s previous policy of lending out books and journals to members far…

Midwives Chronicle and Nursing Notes, April 1977

There are two particular themes which run through this month’s issue of Midwives Chronicle: both these themes have particular resonance today and the reader could be mistaken in thinking that the world hadn’t changed much in 30 years! In April 1977 the Council of the Royal College of Midwives was discussing the particular themes of…

Midwives Chronicle & Nursing Notes, July 1973

This month’s post comes from the July 1973 issue of ‘Midwives Chronicle & Nursing Notes’. It is fair to say that midwives in 1973 were facing many changes, an issue which may or may not still be current today. These changes were outlined in the Presidential speech made by RCM President, Doris Hawkins at the…

Midwives Chronicle & Nursing Notes, May 1975

This month’s post comes from the May 1975 issue of ‘Midwives Chronicle & Nursing Notes’. ‘The midwife working outside the hospital in the community needs to be highly skilled, highly mobile and highly intelligent. She needs a depth of knowledge and experience, for the normal delivery is only a small part of her work…The midwife…