Last week, Dr Lesley Hall, Senior Archivist, Wellcome Library, appeared in an episode of BBC4’s new history series, If Walls Could Talk: The History of the Home.
In the series, presenter Dr Lucy Worsley uncovers the history of familiar domestic spaces. In the most recent episode, devoted to the bedroom, Dr Hall discussed that space as the site for childbirth, pre-nineteenth century.
To illustrate this, Drs Hall and Worsley toured Wellcome Collection, taking in the birthing chair in the Medicine Man gallery and the Wellcome Library’s copy of Jane Sharp’s Compleat Midwife’s Companion (1724).
If Walls Could Talk is currently available to watch for viewers in the UK through the BBC iPlayer.
Image: Frontispiece of the Compleat Midwife’s Companion, including a scene of a woman who has recently given birth, being attended to by midwives.