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Overview

The Royal Maternity Charity was instituted in 1757, its purpose the care of the pregnant poor of London. The Charity soon won royal patronage and continued to flourish until 1949, when it was replaced by the National Health Service.

This microfilm collection provides a unique insight into obstetrics and midwifery practice during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Many of the leading obstetricians of the day were physicians to the Charity, including those associated with the death in childbirth of Princess Charlotte. The 30 volumes of case records here include detailed treatments of labor complications such as forceps extraction and breech delivery.

The collection also contains the Robert Barnes Casebook, 1857-1868. Barnes was one of the most celebrated obstetricians of his day, and physician to the Charity for 12 years. This unique volume, now in the library of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, contains notes on 370 of the cases he attended. Most of the notes are detailed, often accompanied by sketches of the conditions observed.

Also included in the collection is the now rare Account of the Royal Maternity Charity published in 1829.

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