Records of the RCOG and National Birthday Trust Fund

Scope and Content

Records relating to the RCOG's involvement in two National Birthday Trust Fund surveys, including negotiations between the RCOG and the Trust for its integration into the College (1969-1973), and original data collection forms for the 1984 'Birthplace' study.

Administrative / Biographical History

The National Birthday Fund for Maternity Services (later National Birthday Trust Fund) was founded in 1928. In the inter-war period it campaigned for the provision of analgesia in childbirth and improvements in midwifery services and also conducted research into nutrition. Following the Second World War, its primary activity became sponsoring research, particularly into perinatal mortality. It conducted nationwide surveys in 1946, 1958, 1970, 1984, 1990 and 1994 and also supported on-going cohort studies of the development of children. At the end of the 1960s there had been proposals that the Fund be merged with the RCOG, although this never came to fruition, although in subsequent years the Fund developed a close relationship with the RCOG, which became involved in a number of its research projects. Ties between the two organisations were enhanced by the involvement of Professor Geoffrey Chamberlain, later President of the RCOG, in several Fund projects.

The second perinatal survey in 1970 focused on the care of mother and baby for the first week after birth. The RCOG offered specialist advice and underwrote some of the salary costs for the survey. The survey was published as 'British Births 1970: A survey under the joint auspices of the National Birthday Trust Fund and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists' edited by Dr Roma Chamberlain and others (London, 1975-78). Following the establishment of the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit in 1978, the Fund decided to focus instead on single-subject surveys. One such was a 1984 confidential enquiry into place of birth, the results of which were published as 'Birthplace: Report of the confidential enquiry into facilities available at the place of birth conducted by the National Birthday Trust Fund' edited by Geoffrey Chamberlain and Philippa Gunn (Chichester, 1989).

In 1993 the Fund joined forces with Birthright, a charitable branch of the RCOG which had been founded in 1963 and funded medical and scientific research into women's health. Birthright became the corporate Trustee of the Birthday Trust and the official merger of the two organisations accompanied its renaming as Wellbeing.

Conditions Governing Access

Unrestricted access by appointment only.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright of the RCOG. Reproductions are available at the discretion of the College Archivist.

Related Material

Related material held at the RCOG is held at the following references:

RCOG/B2/19 Material relating to the National Birthday Trust Fund/Rhondda Valley scheme to reduce maternal mortality from industrial waste, 1937

RCOG/A4/13-15 Presidents' files dating from the period of the second perinatal survey and the proposed amalgamation with the College

RCOG/B10/2/30 National Birthday Trust survey of pain relief in childbirth

RCOG/E4/60 Scientific meeting in conjunction with the National Birthday Trust: facilities at the place of birth (November 1985)

RCOG/D5 College records relating to the foundation of 'Birthright' (later 'Wellbeing') and its relationship to the College

Data-set for the 1970 British births survey is held under its full title '1970 British Births Cohort Study' at the ESRC Data Archive at Essex University. The Data Archive also holds several other data-sets of studies carried out by the NBTF (e.g. the 1958 perinatal mortality survey). The archives of the NBTF are held at the Wellcome Library.