Maternity ward, Nelson Hospital, Merton Park

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Partial / Incomplete Date c.1944
Area Merton Park
Copyright 1 London Borough of Merton
Picture Reference MerMor_​Hospitals_​1-7
Original Format Photo
Notes / History This is probably a wartime picture, given the prominent blackout blinds. It shows the maternity ward at Nelson Hospital and the ward layout remained similar throughout the 1930s and 40s.

Greater emphasis was given to childcare during the 1950s and far more women opted for hospital maternity care following the creation of the National Health Service. It was also increasingly common for husbands to be present at the birth of their children.

Home births were still the norm during this period, however women who did opt for hospital treatment were confined to bed for much longer than modern counterparts. Notice the old fashioned wooden wheelchair for weakened or invalid mothers and the portable cot at the end of each bed.

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