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: 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.

Lily Good: The Midwife’s Tale Oral History Collection

Our penultimate extract from The Midwife’s Tale Oral History Collection is taken from an interview with ‘handywoman’ Lily Good. In Britain around the time of the First World War ‘handywoman’ was the name for a woman who attended births, nursed the sick and laid out the dead in her local community. During this period childbirth…

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…