Midwife's Tale: Vera Wells

Scope and Content

Transcript of an interview given by Vera Wells covering her experiences of childbirth in 1936, including delivery of her son by Caesarean Section at Middlesborough Hospital, problems with breast feeding and treatment for breast abscesses, her husband's reactions to having a baby, payment of medical costs, social conditions as a builder's wife, attitudes to sex and lack of sexual knowledge and education, the lack of antenatal care, her wartime work at a local post office, feeding the baby and potty-training, and attitudes to women working.

Administrative / Biographical History

Vera Wells was born in 1903 in Hartlepool, County Durham. She came from a middle-class background. Both her husband and father were in the building trade. She was one of three children. her family emigrated to Australia in 1909 before returning in 1920. She married in 1934 and had one child by Caesarean section in 1936.

Conditions Governing Access

Transcripts and Sample Audio: Free to view and download from the website of the Royal College of Midwives: https://www.rcm.org.uk/library-and-information-services

Audio of Full Interviews: Accessible for free and by appointment at the library of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

Opening hours: Monday-Friday, 9am-6pm (contact: archives@rcog.org.uk)

Write, call or email us to book an appointment, make an enquiry, or to order digital copies (free via Dropbox) for personal and non-commercial research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copies for private study purposes only are available from the Archivist (contact: archives@rcog.org.uk). Copyright permission is required for commercial use of audio and transcripts.

Copyright lies with the authors Billie Hunter and Nicky Leap.

Related Material

The Midwife’s Tale: an Oral History from Handywoman to Professional Midwife, by Nicky Leap and Billie Hunter (2nd edition, 2013) [Available at the RCOG library, reference WQ11 LEA]