Midwife's Tale: Edie Martinson

Scope and Content

Transcription of an interview with Edie Martinson covering her experience as a young mother in London (1918), including childbirth, midwives, social conditions, death of her first baby to enteritis and third baby to poverty, her service with the Land Army during the First World War, her different jobs to support her family, marriage breakdowns, sexual knowledge, contraception, abortions, benefits, and health during pregnancy.

Administrative / Biographical History

Edie Martinson was born in London in 1902 and came from a working-class home. She married in 1920 and had five babies between 1920 and 1935, two of them dying in early infancy. Edie had various jobs throughout her life, including washing-up, waitressing, cooking and factory work.

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]