Midwife's Tale: Edith Burgess

Scope and Content

Transcript of an interview with Edith Burgess covering her experiences as a midwife, including her training in Newcastle during the First World War, attitude to unmarried mothers, social conditions, positions at Burnley, Lancashire and with Lambeth Borough Council, where she worked for 50 years, some of it as a district midwife, pain relief, delivery techniques, feeding for mothers and babies, conditions in the homes and in the hospitals, infections and maternal mortality, relationship between patients and midwives, delivering breech babies, antenatal care, treatment for jaundiced babies, memories her association with the Royal College of Midwives, sexual knowledge, and disposal of the placenta.

Administrative / Biographical History

Edith Burgess was born in Hull in 1894, the eldest of eight children from a working-class family. She trained as a midwife in Newcastle in 1921 and moved south to Lambeth in London, where she worked in a maternity home for 50 years.

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]