Gertrude Mary Ethel Shannon (née Harris): midwifery records

  • Shannon (nee Harris), Gertrude Ethel Mary (1896-1998) Midwife
  • Archives and manuscripts

About this work


These papers are a relatively full record of midwifery training in the 1920s, and thus quite unusual. They are also of interest as Mrs Shannon trained under the pioneer medical woman Annie McCall at the Clapham Maternity Hospital (which was later renamed after Dr McCall), who supplied her with a testimonial (PP/SHA/1) and signed the certificates, PP/SHA/5/1-2. The exercise book includes notes on lectures by Dr McCall. The Central Midwives Board certificate is signed by Sir Francis Champneys.



Physical description

1 box, o/s folder

Acquisition note

These papers were received in June 2001 as a gift from Peter Shannon, Gertrude Shannon's son.

Biographical note

Mrs Shannon was born in Sussex in 1896 and her family moved to Western Australia in 1903. Initially she trained as a teacher and taught in several schools in the Dalwallinu area. During the First World War following the appeal for nurses she trained as a nurse at Perth Public (now Royal Perth) Hospital from 1918 to 1921. Shortly after this she went to the UK to train in midwifery at Clapham Maternity Hospital, and it is to this period of her life and aspect of her career that this material chiefly relates. She returned to Western Australia late in 1923 and worked for some time at Perth Hospital until returning to school-teaching. She married William Arthur Shannon in 1927 and they lived at Walgoolan until 1937, where due to the remoteness from a hospital she would deliver local women's babies at their house. In 1942 she was asked to take care of newly born twin nieces who were not thriving, and notes on this are in the back of the exercise book (PP/SHA/4). Because of the shortage of nurses in wartime, Mrs Shannon returned to work, initially on an on-call basis but then full-time at the hospital in Dalwallinu doing both midwifery and general nursing, eventually becoming Matron. After that period her nursing was only voluntary and familial. More biographical details can be found in PP/SHA/8.

Related material

Additional material on Dr McCall and the Clapham Maternity Hospital in the archives of the Medical Women's Federation (SA/MWF/C.5, C.30): records of the hospital are held in the London Metropolitan Archives and at St George's Hospital Medical School Library. Sir Francis Champneys: additional material in GC/139.

Terms of use

This collection has been catalogued and is available to library members. Some items have access restrictions which are explained in the item-level catalogue records.

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Accession number

  • 947