Thynne's Theory & Practice of Midwifery and Denman's Midwifery Cases

Scope and Content

The volume bears the bookplate of the Manchester Medical Society which indicates that it was donated to them by Clay in 1861 and subsequently allocated the reference Q 153 viz. their 1890 library catalogue. The inscription 'Aungier Peacocke, surgeon' can be found at the top of the first page and underneath it has been signed by Charles Clay with the date 1855. In the top right corner of the rear flyleaf is the name 'Elizabeth Peacocke' possibly indicating transfer of ownership from the creator to a female relative.

The first 153 folios, which are numbered as such, are notes from Dr Andrew Thynne's lectures on the theory and practice of midwifery delivered at Piccadilly, London and commencing on 7 April 1790. There are 25 lectures in total, which are clearly numbered but only occasionally dated. The contents of the lectures are as follows: (1) the pelvis, (2) false and true pelvis, (3) distorted pelvis, (4) difference between male and female pelvis, (5) diseases of the external organs, (6) diseases of the uterus, (7) falling down or retroversion of the womb, (8) scirrhous and cancer of the womb and dropsy, (9) change womb undergoes after conception, (10, wrongly numbered as 9 again) changes during pregnancy continued, (11) retroversion of the uterus, (12-13) uterine haemorrhages, (14) contents of the uterus, (15) on the touch, (16) changes prior to delivery, (17) womb in different periods of pregnancy, (18) turning, (19) extraction of the placenta & preternatural labours, (20) breech cases [breech presentation], (21) feet cases, (22) difficult and laborious labours, (23) passing the child's head through the pelvis, (24) dropsical womb & instruments generally used, (25) use of the lever.

Folios 155-199 constitute Denman's midwifery cases. These are not clearly split into numbered lectures like the preceding notes but instead are set out under subject headings. Within are discussed the four different types of labours, namely natural, difficult, preternatural, and complex, as well as methods of turning, instruments used, haemorrhages, and abortion.

Folios 200-204 contain further extracts from Thynne entitled, 'diseases between the third and sixth day after delivery', 'on the puerperal fever', and 'on the management of the new born infants for the first month'. ff.205-214 are blank.

Administrative / Biographical History

Little is known of Aungier Peacocke although there appear to be links to items held by Essex Record Office. D/DU 642/1 is a physician's ledger dating from 1791-1792 belonging to Dr A. Peacock of Tillingham, quite possibly the same man.

Andrew Thynne was born in Ireland in 1749 and gained his MD from Rheims on 22 August 1775. He was admitted as a Licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians on 2 April 1787 and was well regarded as an accoucheur, or man-midwife. Thynne was physician in ordinary to the Westminster Lying-in Hospital, physician-accoucheur to the General Lying-in Charity (later Queen Charlotte's Lying-in Hospital), and proprietor of the Ancient Lying-in House, Water Lane, Fleet Street. In 1788 he became the first lecturer in midwifery at St Bartholomew's Hospital, London where he continued to lecture up until his death in 1813. Thynne also lectured from his house, 27 Golden Square, in addition to a number of midwifery theatres across the city. He died in St George's-fields at the age of 64.

See entry MMM/16/2/4 for biographical information about Denman.

Bibliography

William Munk, 'Andrew Thynne' Munk's Roll Volume II p.367. Bryan Hibbard The Obstetrician's Armamentarium San Anselmo 2000.