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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): H14
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1749-1984
Level of description: Collection
View subfonds/series records
Extent: 11.13 linear metres
Name of creator(s):

The British Lying-In Hospital xx The Lying-In Hospital for Married Women xx The British Lying-In Hospital for Married Women

British Hospital for Mothers and Babies x The Home for Mothers and Babies


Administrative/Biographical history:

The British Lying-In Hospital was founded in November 1749 by a group of governors of the Middlesex Hospital who were dissatisfied with the resources allocated by that hospital to lying-in women. In 1756 the name of the hospital was changed from "The Lying-In Hospital for Married Women" to "The British Lying-In Hospital for Married Women". This was in order to avoid confusion with the City of London Lying-In Hospital founded in 1750 and the General Lying-In Hospital, later Queen Charlotte's Hospital, founded in 1751. In 1828 the hospital decided to start sending midwives to deliver out-patients in their own homes. In 1849 it moved to a new building in Endell Street, Holborn.

By the beginning of the 20th century the hospital was facing serious problems. Its buildings were unsatisfactory and old fashioned. It was in financial difficulties. The population of the area was decreasing and the teaching hospitals in the neighbourhood had opened maternity wards. Rather than rebuilding in the same area, King Edward's Hospital Fund advised amalgamation with another maternity hospital, preferably the Home for Mothers and Babies in Woolwich. Agreement between the two institutions was soon reached, though legal difficulties delayed the signing of the Charity Commission Scheme approving the amalgamation until 29 January 1915. The British Lying-In Hospital closed on 31 May 1913.

The Council for the Promotion of the Higher Training of Midwives was formed in February 1904 after a series of preliminary meetings in 1903. Its object was to found a national training school for district midwives. Rather than amalgamating with an existing hospital, it was decided to open a new maternity hospital in Woolwich. The Home for Mothers and Babies was opened in Wood Street, Woolwich on 11 May 1905. Its objects were, "(1) to enable women to be attended in their confinements, either in the Hospital or at their own homes, by Gentlewomen, all of whom have received previous training in General Nursing", "(2) to promote the training of Gentlewomen as District Midwives", "(3) to lengthen the customary period of training for District Midwives". When the Home was amalgamated with the British Lying-In Hospital, Holborn, it was renamed the British Hospital for Mothers and Babies and was placed under the control of a newly constituted Managing Committee with representatives of both institutions.A site in Samuel Street, Woolwich was purchased in 1914. The first stone of the new building was laid in 1920 and the first stage of the new hospital was opened in March 1922. The second stage of the building was completed in 1929. The hospital was badly damaged by bombing in 1940. An evacuation hospital was set up in Pednor House, Chesham, Buckinghamshire, which was loaned by the Ministry of Health. In 1948 the hospital was taken over by the National Health Service and became the responsibility of Woolwich Group Hospital Management Committee. The hospital was transferred to Greenwich and Bexley Area Health Authority in 1974 and to Greenwich Health Authority in 1982. It closed in 1984.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the British Lying-In Hospital Group comprising papers of the British Lying-In Hospital, 1749-1914, the British Hospital for Mothers and Babies, 1905-1984 and the Council for the Promotion of the Higher Training of Midwives, 1903-1941. The papers include committee minutes, diaries, patient records including admission registers and case notes, rules and regulations, histories of the hospitals and financial records.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

In sections: H14/BLI: British Lying-In Hospital, H14/BMB: British Hospital for Mothers and Babies and H14/BMB/CTM: Council for the Promotion of the Higher Training of Midwives.

Conditions governing access:

These records are available for public inspection, although records containing personal information are subject to access restrictions under the UK Data Protection Act, 1998.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright: Depositor.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:


Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
February 2009

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