Rubber vault cap, London, England, 1915-1925

1915-1925 in London

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Rubber vault cap, size 2, by Racial/BCM, London. Full view, white perspex background with reflection.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Rubber vault cap, size 2, by Racial/BCM, London

Contraceptive caps are also called cervical, vault or diaphragm caps. They are barrier contraceptives. The Mother’s Clinic supplied it to women. The clinic opened in 1921. Contraceptive caps sit over the cervix. They act as a barrier to sperm entering the uterus. This ‘Racial’ brand of cervical cap was modified by Dr Marie Stopes (1880-1958).

The trademarked ‘Racial’ related to Stopes’ belief in eugenics. This widely held theory in the early 1900s argued selective breeding could remove ‘undesirables’ from society. Stopes founded the Society for Constructive Birth Control. She opened the first of her birth control clinics in Holloway, North London in 1921. She is best remembered as a feminist and a birth control pioneer.

Related people


Obstetrics, Gynaecology & Contraception
Object Number:
vault cap
Marie Stopes Memorial Foundation

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