Midwifery bag, pigskin, with nickel plated brass fittings, complete with contents, bag by Arnold and Sons, London, 1925-1955
Until the middle of the 20th century in the UK, the majority of births still took place at home. They were usually attended by a midwife. This pigskin bag was made by Arnold and Sons in London. It contains many items a midwife required at the birth. Included are forceps, an obstetric hook, facemask, stitching needles, sterile suturing thread, syringe, an anaesthetic mask and bandages. There is also a copy of the ‘Rules of the Central Midwives Board’ (1905). This stresses midwives must keep themselves and their equipment scrupulously clean to avoid cross infection and puerperal fever. Puerperal fever often proved fatal. The inner lining of the bag is removable, presumably for washing.