The Very First Issue of Nursing Notes: a Practical Journal for Nurses, 1888

We’re celebrating International Day of the Midwife 2017 by making available, for free download, the first issue of the very first volume of Nursing Notes, which became the official journal of the Midwives Institute (later the Royal College of Midwives). A searchable, scanned copy of this historic issue is free to download as a PDF:…

Fantastic Finds: A Mystery Midwifery Certificate from the 18th Century

You never know what you might find delving through a backlog of museum accessions. But that’s what makes it fun. Earlier this month, our Museum Curator for the Royal College of Midwives Heritage Team uncovered a beautiful (if somewhat battered) 18th century midwifery certificate awarded to a Mary Burford of the City of London Lying-in…

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…

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…

Vita Donum Dei: a Hymn for the Royal College of Midwives

You don’t have dig deep to find a special gem in the archives of the Royal College of Midwives. In time for the Christmas season, we recently unearthed an audiocassette tape featuring a 35-yearold performance of a very special hymn entitled Vita Donum Dei. Vita Donum Dei had been the College’s motto since its foundation…

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…

Midwives Chronicle & Nursing Notes: February 1955

There are two distinct themes in this month’s Nursing Notes: the fate and welfare of the nation’s elderly, and the search for a solution to restrictions placed on midwives to administer pain relief during deliveries. The headline article of the February 1955 issue of Midwives Chronicle & Nursing Notes looked at restrictions placed on midwives…