ZEPHERINA SMITH (1836–1894) and DAME ROSALIND PAGET (1855–1948) trained at THE BRITISH LYING-IN HOSPITAL 1749–1913
Sponsored by: The Hospital Club
Location: 24 Endell Street
Zepherina Philadelphia Smith was an English nurse and social reformer who promoted increased education and training for midwives. She had had an illustrious career as a senior nurse in the UK and in Sedan during the Franco-Prussian War when, in 1873, she began training at the Lying-In Hospital to qualify as a midwife. She was dismayed by the inadequate training many of her fellow midwives had received and worked to establish the Trained Midwives Registration Society. She served as President of the Midwives' Institute from 1890 until her death. In this role, she advised government regulators on legislation about midwifery.
Mary Rosalind Paget DBE, ARRC was a noted British nurse midwife, supporter of women's suffrage and reformer. She qualified as a midwife at the Lying-In Hospital in 1885. In the 1890s she played an active role in the campaign for midwife registration, giving evidence in 1892 to the select committee on midwifery which finally resulted in the passing of the 1902 Midwives Act. This made it an offence for anyone not properly certificated to describe themselves or practse as a midwife. She was the first Superintendent, later Inspector General, of the Queen's Jubilee Institute for District Nursing at the London Hospital,renamed the Queen's Institute of District Nursing in 1928 and as the Queen's Nursing Institute in 1973.
Smith and Paget both trained in London's oldest maternity hospital, the Lying-In Hospital for Married Women, opened at the end of 1749. It has been established by a group of governors of the Middlesex Hospital who were dissatisfied with the facilities available for women in labour. They purchased a house in Brownlow Street (now Betterton Street). Women were received in the last month of their pregnancy on production of a letter of recommendation from a subscriber, an affadavit of their marriage and their husband's settlement. From 1752, female pupils were admitted to the hospital for periods of six months in order to learn midwifery. In 1849, the Lying-In Hospital moved round the corner to larger purpose-built accommodation in Endell Street. The new hospital cost £6,000 and had 40 beds. It continued to function as a maternity hospital until 1913. The building now houses The Hospital Club.