Royal Maternity Charity: Minute Books 1761-1949

Scope and Content

This series contains the minute books of the Royal Maternity Charity, a total of 30 handwritten volumes, covering the period 1761 to 1949. It is a near-complete run, with only a gap between 1830 and 1832. These minute books provide minutes of meetings of the Royal Maternity Charity, generally held monthly.

Typical information provided by these minute books include: minutes of meetings; details on the financial management of the charity, its subscriptions and donations and expenditure; the appointment of new staff and committee members; and the numbers of cases and deliveries dealt with by the charity (figures can include the number of deliveries, the number of male and female babies birthed and the number of deaths, if any). Early volumes are more detailed, in particular, regarding complaints made against the charity’s midwives.

The last volumes in the series show how the charity struggled to raise funds and remain relevant in the twentieth century. In particular, the last volume, S60/A/30, shows the impact of the 1936 Midwives Act, the 1946 National Health Service Act and the Second World War on the charity and how they led to its eventual demise in 1949.

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