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Heritage collections

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The RCOG holds significant historical material. The heritage collections are a unique and important resource that cover the history of women’s health care, and of key practitioners of obstetrics and gynaecology.

These include the original notebooks of Robert Barnes, the very first examples of obstetric forceps, created by the Chamberlen family c.1600, and examples of Rosslin’s early 16th century Rosengarten – the first printed book on the subject of midwifery.

Find out more about our library collections.


Union Street update – June 2020

Heritage collections for RCOG and Royal College of Midwives (RCM)

  • Both the Archive and Museum is now closed until further notice
  • In the interim, the Library can be contacted in the interim using the above contact details
  • Please do continue to email and write to the service use but be advised that specialist enquiries and work will be paused until Union Street reopens.
    • emailing
    • writing to 10-18 Union Street, London SE1 1SZ:


The College Archives holds a range of information about the RCOG and the specialty of obstetrics and gynaecology (O&G).


RCOG museum

We maintain a museum of obstetric, midwifery, surgical and gynaecological instruments and artefacts spanning 500 years.


Resources for family historians

If your ancestor was an obstetrician or midwife, information in the RCOG Library and Archives could help you find out more about their life and work.


Volunteer with RCOG Heritage

We’re always looking for volunteers to assist us in our work.


Contact us

To contact the Heritage team, please email


Elsewhere on the site

History of the College
The history of the RCOG and the development of the specialty of obstetrics and gynaecology
About the College
Find out about the RCOG’s current work to improve women’s health care worldwide