Published: 18th Jan 2012

We might think that a book about midwifery in London in the 1950s would be of little relevance today; but how wrong could we be? The true tales which Jennifer Worth (1935- 2011) relates in her Call the Midwife trilogy, now being televised by the BBC, are not as some suppose stories removed from the realities of the present day. They connect in core ways with our current lives for at least two reasons. First, Jennifer Worth’s accounts of the grim realities of family life in London’s war-torn East End in the 1950s are critical to our present understanding of why the UK National Health Service was one of the greatest achievements ever for the wellbeing of the mass of ‘ordinary’ people. Let no one imagine it wasn’t a big deal. It was (and remains) a history-changing collective leap towards a fundamentally different mode of constructing public service. Second, the experiences … (To read the full article, subscribe below)