As/Saying Architecture

The Westminster Lying-in Hospital, Lambeth. Engraving on sil Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images The Westminster Lying-in Hospital, Lambeth. Engraving on silk by C. Grignion after S. Wale. By: Samuel Waleafter: Charles Grignion Published: - Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0

Title: As/Saying Architecture: a Ficto-spatial Essay of Lying-in

Author: Emma Cheatle

In: ‘Writing / Architecture‘, Special Issue of Text Journal, Issue 55

Year: 2019

Abstract: Through an exposé of my research, ‘The Architecture of Lying-in: From the Dark and Airless Room to the Hospital for Women’, this paper explores creative-critical methods of writing architectural history. Until the 1740s, women in England gave birth in the bedroom, which was refashioned for the occasion as a dark, internalised space, the ‘lying-in chamber’. Around this time, the rise of the man- midwife and instruments such as maternal forceps heralded the lying-in hospital, the first specialist hospital overall, yet few architectural descriptions of it exist, nor of the maternal domestic space it challenged. Here, I examine the home and the first London lying-in hospital by drawing on a range of sources such as architectural plans, midwifery manuals and treatises, maps, novels and political writings. Developing a text that plies between essay and fiction, I critically reconstruct the architecture of lying-in.