Midwife riding a bike delivered hundreds of Potteries babies
A real life version of a character from the TV show Call The Midwife, Marion Jones tells Jenny Amphlett about delivering babies in the city during the 1960s.
When Marion Jones was working as a midwife during the 1960s she would cycle to the homes of women in labour, carrying her forceps and scissors in a bag on the back of the bike.
The 78-year-old, from Tiverton Road, Berryhill, delivered hundreds of babies in the city during her career.
"I absolutely adored every minute of it," she says. "It was very rewarding.
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"The nice thing is that so many of those patients remember me and welcome me when they see me.
"So many stop me and say something like: 'Mrs Jones, you delivered my son and he is 50 years old now'."
Marion delivered her first babies in the Sneyd Green and Birches Head area, before being asked to work in Bentilee when the estate first opened.
"I agreed and we moved to a house in Berryhill so we would be close to the area," she says. "It was lovely and the patients were great."
Home births were the norm during the 1960s.
Marion would get to know the mums-to-be before the birth, deliver the babies and then help afterwards if necessary.
Although she was part of a small team, Marion would deliver babies single-handedly.
"You did it all on your own then," she says.
"I would go out to see a woman in labour and, depending on how imminent the birth was, I would then come home or carry on with a little more work before going back.
"We could do that easily because we lived in the area in which we worked.
"I used to travel around on my bicycle, as we didn't have cars at the beginning.
"My kit included a metal box with a blue waterproof material cover on it.
"It contained my forceps, clamps, scissors to cut the umbilical cord, bowl to wash people down and scales to weigh the baby.
"They were like fishing scales that you would hang up on a hook.
"You would put a nappy on the baby and carefully hook the corners of the nappy over the scales to weigh the baby."
If a birth became complicated Marion would ring a doctor for advice.
"The doctor would make the decision about whether we should take the mum-to-be to hospital.
"Fortunately we didn't really have many problem births. I think that was because things were quite relaxed and the patients knew us.
"My way of thinking would be different to people doing the work today. I enjoyed delivering babies at home and I was confident about it.
"I think home deliveries would be a nice thing again, but I don't think many people are given that choice now."
Marion, whose maiden name was Moss, believes there were real benefits to having home births as the default option.
"There is nothing like your own home. If the mum already has a child it is so nice to call them upstairs and show them the baby. It was a wonderful feeling.
"People were so kind to us as midwives too. After the delivery they wouldn't let us go home without a bit of breakfast."
Marion doesn't have a record of how many babies she delivered, but believes it must be hundreds.
She counts single-handedly delivering a breach baby and twins as two of her most memorable births.
"Both of those only happened for me on one occasion, but it was a wonderful thing as now it wouldn't be allowed for a home birth."
In 1967, following the birth of her second child, Marion moved to a new job caring for premature babies in the community.
She retired at the age of 55 due to ill health.
Marion was prompted to share her memories after reading the recollection of Patricia Averill in The Way We Were recently.
Marion and Patricia did their nurse training together at the North Staffs Royal Infirmary.
"I recognised her straight away from the photo," Marrion adds. "We were very good friends but I hadn't seen her since we finished our training in the 50s."
Marion is a widow following the death of her husband John. She has two daughters, seven grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
Did Marion deliver your baby, or did you also work as a community midwife? Write to Jenny Amphlett, including your full name, address and telephone number, at: Features Desk, The Sentinel, Forge Lane, Etruria, Stoke-on-Trent ST1 5SS, or email email@example.com