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British Lying-In Hospital

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 1538 S66
Held at: Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
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Full title: British Lying-In Hospital
Date(s): 1753-1780
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 5 volumes
Name of creator(s): British Lying-In Hospital x Lying-In Hospital for Married Women


Administrative/Biographical history:

The Lying-In Hospital for married Women 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. From 1752 female pupils were admitted to the hospital for periods of six months in order to learn midwifery.

A General Meeting or Court of the Governors was held every quarter to make the laws and rules of the hospital. A committee of fifteen governors was chosen at each Quarterly General Court to meet at the hospital once a week to receive patients and to direct the ordinary affairs of the hospital. From 1806, except for the years 1811-1820, the General Court met half-yearly instead of quarterly. A new constitution was approved on 9 July 1869. This provided for an annual general meeting of governors who were to elect fifteen of their number to form a Board of Management which was to meet once a month. The Board was to appoint such standing committees as might be advisable including a ladies committee. 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'. 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 this 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.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers relating to the British Lying-In Hospital, 1753-1780, including casebooks, possibly of Dr Christopher Kelly, 1767-1780, and notebook, 1753-1754, entitled 'Some Memoranda on Midwifery' containing notes on disorders attending pregnant women, instructions for the use of forceps and the delivery of twins, and notes on a lecture given by Dr [William] Hunter, 28 Oct 1754.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Arranged in sections as outlined in the Scope and Content.

Conditions governing access:

Conditions governing reproduction:

Finding aids:

Detailed catalogue available in the RCOG archives.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Presented to the RCOG on the closure of the British Hospital for Mothers and Babies at Woolwich.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Records of British Lying-In Hospital, Holborn held at the London Metropolitan Archives, (Ref: H14/BLI); Journals of cases treated in the British Lying-In Hospital, May 1775 - Dec 1778, held at the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh.

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Compiled by Sarah Drewery.

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:
Jul 2008

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