Records of the Benevolent Fund of the Royal College of Midwives

Archive Unit

Scope and Content

This collection comprises minutes, reports, accounts, correspondence, case files and application forms of the Benevolent Fund Committee (previously the Rainy Day Fund until it amalgamated with the Distress Fund in 1924) of the Royal College of Midwives (formally known as the Midwives Institute) (1914-1999), relating to the provision of financial assistance to midwives during times of hardship, or to assist them in paying their subscriptions, providing an insight into the social circumstances and working conditions of women who worked as midwives throughout the twentieth century.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Royal College of Midwives (formally known as the Midwives Institute) has provided financial assistance to midwives ever since 1914, when a gold half-sovereign was donated by a grateful member of the public.

This Rainy Day Fund, as it became known from 1924 was subsequently maintained by money raised through lectures and subscriptions, as well as bequests from members and friends, in order to help midwives during times of hardship, or to assist them in paying their subscriptions.

Meanwhile the Distress Fund was established for the relief of midwives who lost work or required further training as a result of the Midwives Act of 1936.

In 1941 the Rainy Day Fund amalgamated with the Distress Fund and the War Distress Fund, to become the Benevolent Fund. The Benevolent Fund Committee, met on a quarterly basis, or as required, to investigate applications, and then award grants to midwives in need of financial assistance.

Due to a reported increase in the number of midwives in need for this type of support, the constitution of the Benevolent Fund was updated in 1998.


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.