Midwife's Tale: Elizabeth Callister

Scope and Content

Transcript of an interview with Elizabeth Callister covering her experiences as a midwife, including her training as a general nurse at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary (1938), midwifery training in Bradford and Wakefield, hospital work in Grimsby, on the district in Battersea, social conditions, different attitudes on hospital births and fathers being present at the birth, existence of handywomen, sexual knowledge, methods of delivery, pain relief, health and diet, abortions and family planning, and the relationship between midwives and doctors.

Administrative / Biographical History

Edith Callister was born in Eire in 1905 into a working-class background. She trained as a midwife in Bradford during the 1930s, following which she worked as a district midwife in Battersea for many years, known as 'Auntie Betty' throughout the district.

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]