Papers of Gertrude Mary Tuckwell

Scope and Content

Ms and ts correspondence of Gertrude Mary Tuckwell, trade unionist and social reformer, including copies of letters written to, and also those from Mrs M. Anderson of the Manchester Labour Women’s Advisory Council, George Newman of the Ministry of Health Maternal Mortality Committee, the editor of the Manchester Guardian and Bingham, Hall & Ritchie Solicitors as well as other organisations involved in providing maternity care, such as the British Hospital for Mothers and Babies, Queen’s Institute of District Nursing, Clapham Maternity Hospital and the General Lying-In Hospital in London (29 July-5 October 1934), relating to maternal mortality, with particular references to the circumstances surrounding the death of a young jewish women during childbirth, called Molly Taylor at St. May’s Hospital in Manchester, together with a ts report, issued by the Ministry of Health (27 November 1934), outlining the proceedings of and then recommendations made by the subsequent public inquiry that took place on 20 September 1934, also accompanied by related local and national newspaper cuttings.

Administrative / Biographical History

Gertrude Mary Tuckwell (1861-1951) was a trade unionist and social reformer. She became the president of the Women's Trade Union League in 1905 and three years later she became president of the National Federation of Women Workers.

Although she formally retired from women's trade union work in 1918, Gertrude Tuckwell remained extremely active in public life, especially in legal and health-related matters. She became one of the first women justices of the peace and served on an advisory committee to assist the lord chancellor in appointing women justices. She was also a founder of the Magistrates' Association, sitting on its council between 1921 and 1940, and she chaired the National Association of Probation Officers from 1933 to 1941. In addition to this she served on the advisory committee to the Ministry of Health in 1905 until 1923, on the Central Committee on Women's Training and Employment, and on the royal commission on national health insurance from 1924 to 1926.

She spent her last twenty years at Little Woodlands, Wormley, near Godalming, Surrey. She died aged ninety on 5 August 1951 in the Royal Surrey County Hospital, Guildford, after an accident. During her long life she played a seminal role in the development of women's trade unionism and the labour movement. In the inter-war period she actively embraced the more public and official roles that became available to able women, most notably in the areas of the law and public health.

Access Information

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Acquisition Information

There is no record of the date or source of acquisition before the collection was deposited at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in May 2011.


Catalogued by Clare Sexton, Project Archivist in accordance with ISAD(G).

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Custodial History

This collection was originally deposited at the Royal College of Midwives. It is now held under the terms of a service level collection care agreement at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.