Transcript of an interview with Esther Silverton of her experiences as a midwife in Portsmouth, including her training during the Second World War, social conditions, babies clothes, naming of babies during the war, rationing, delivery positions, donation of breast milk to hospitals, breast feeding, evacuation with mums to Liphook, Hampshire, training in Croydon during the War, details of the Blitz and delivering her first baby during a raid, wartime rations for pregnant women, antenatal care, pain relief during labour, episiotomies and examinations during labour, methods of delivering the placenta, maternal deaths, cot deaths, postnatal depression, the religous tradition of churching, the relationship between midwives and doctors, role of handywomen, breech deliveries, changes in society, and her own experience having a stillborn.
Midwife's Tale: Esther Silverton
- This material is held at
- ReferenceGB 1538 RCMS/251/7
- Dates of Creation29 August 1985 - 1992
- Name of Creator
- Language of MaterialEnglish
- Physical Description2 folders, 3 audio recordings (MP3 format)
- Direct Link
Scope and Content
Administrative / Biographical History
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. Apart from an initial spell in a small maternity hospital, she worked as a district midwife in the working-class area where she grew up, and continued to work as a district midwife after having children.
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.
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Copies for private study purposes only are available from the Archivist (contact: email@example.com). Copyright permission is required for commercial use of audio and transcripts.
Copyright lies with the authors Billie Hunter and Nicky Leap.