Records of the Education Department of the Royal College of Midwives

Scope and Content

This collection comprises examination papers, training material and printed programmes of lectures, courses and workshops organised by the Royal College of Midwives (formally known as the Midwives Institute) (1902-1992), as well as the papers of the Director of the Education Department (1997-2000), relating to policy development and strategic planning on midwifery and health education.

Administrative / Biographical History

In April 1886, the Royal College of Midwives (formally known as the Midwives Institute) organised a series of postgraduate lectures for midwives at the headquarters. Indeed since it was founded, one of the main purposes of the organisation, as well as campaigning to improve the statutory position of the midwifery profession, was to promote education and training for midwives. However it wasn't until after the passing of the Midwives Act in 1902, that the College became recognised as a training centre for midwives.

In addition to arranging classes of instruction for the further education of practicing midwives and scholarships to enable suitable women to be trained, the College began to hold special instruction courses for midwives who were involved in supervising midwifery pupils. The first midwife teacher diploma examination took place in 1926.

The College also expanded its educational activities to include intensive courses of lectures for teachers of midwifery in accordance with the terms of the second Midwives Act of 1936.

Despite these efforts there was a shortage of midwives at the outbreak of the Second World War. The College, not only issued an appeal to all its retired members and other midwives to offer their services, it began to offer refresher courses to ensure efficient service was maintained.

As the twentieth century progressed, the Royal College of Midwives continued to provide educational and training opportunities to midwives, including lectures, conferences, refresher courses and even a residential summer school in order to promote clinical excellence and the midwifery leaders of tomorrow.


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.

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.