Records of the Royal College of Midwives Library and Archive

Archive Unit

Scope and Content

This collection comprises catalogues, resource guides, a register of loans, visitors books, correspondence with donors and researchers, as well as printed material relating to the Library and Archive of the Royal College of Midwives (formally known as the Midwives Institute) (circa. 1900-2008).

Administrative / Biographical History

When the young midwife, Rosalind Paget was invited to join the Royal College of Midwives (formally known as the Midwives Institute) in 1886, she said: 'No, I think not, but if you have a Midwives Club, with lectures and a Library, I will'. In the years that followed the founding of the library at the headquarters, along with the club room and lecture course, widened professional discussion and membership, which in turn contributed to the organisation becoming a centre for the education and training of midwives.

The first meeting of the Library Committee of the RCM took place on 27 April 1945 in order to address the urgent need to buy more up to date books. Before this the management of the library, including the buying and lending of books, had been the responsibility of the Executive Council and Club Committee.

When the headquarters of the RCM moved to 15 Mansfield Road, London in 1957, the desk of Rosalind Paget was placed in the new library. At the same time the library was also renamed, in memory of Arnold Walker, the former chairman of the Central Midwives Board and Florence Mitchell who had served for many years as the General Secretary of the RCM.

Unfortunately the library and archive of the Royal College of Midwives was closed in 2008. The collections subsequently went into storage, before being deposited at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.


The original order of material is retained, although where this is not possible the arrangement of files has been based on the functions and activities of the organisation as well as chronology, subject and the needs of users.

Conditions Governing Access

Permission is required for external access to records less than twenty years old. Also restrictions apply if material includes personal information of living individuals. All other records are open to research by appointment, Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm. For further information about accessing the collection and visiting the reading room, please contact:

Acquisition Information

There is no record of the source or date of acquisition before this material was deposited under the terms of a collection care agreement at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in May 2011.


Catalogued by Clare Sexton, Project Archivist in accordance with ISAD(G).

Other Finding Aids

Further details of the contents of this collection are available on request.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

The bound volumes within this collection have fragile bindings and should be handled with care.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright belongs to the Royal College of Midwives. To reproduce this material, please apply via the College Archivist:

Custodial History

This collection was previously held at the Royal College of Midwives.