©Wellcome Library, London

Marie Stopes mobile birth control clinic

Marie Stopes set up her first ‘Mothers Clinic' at Holloway, London, in 1921. Others were established in different parts of the country and included 2 mobile units in caravans. Her motto, ‘Joyous and deliberate motherhood. A sure light in our racial darkness' revealed her sympathies towards the eugenics movement. Her best-seller, Married love (1918), sold 2000 copies within the first fortnight of publication, and by 1952, over a million had been sold. In addition, hundreds of doctors wrote to Stopes asking to attend her clinics for training since contraception was not on the curriculum of any medical or post-graduate school. She held strong opinions regarding contraceptives, advocating the use of sponges and caps but strongly opposing the use of ‘Female Pills' which were barely disguised abortifacients. Many of the photographs of Stopes' clinics show happy, smiling children, which served to counter the notion that she was somehow ‘against' children.

Source: International Planned Parenthood Federation. The history of contraceptives. London 1967.