Girding the Loins

  • Free
  • Discussion
  • Speech-to-text
  • Hearing loop
Photograph of four people seated in a row at a talk. They are looking up to listen to a speaker who is out of frame.
Library Insights, Michael Bowles. Source: Wellcome Collection. Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0).

What you’ll do  

Join scientist Dr Sarah Fiddyment, medievalist Kierri Price and conservator Stefania Signorello in conversation with collections specialist Dr Elma Brenner to hear about their research on a medieval English birthing girdle, Ms.632.

Only a few girdles survive today, and people attending in the building will have the opportunity to see one during this event from 15:30 when doors open.

From 16:00, speakers will tell you about their work on medieval birthing girdles.

Kierri Price will introduce you to medieval birthing girdles and their cultural and religious significance. You will hear how these manuscripts provided physical and emotional support to women in pregnancy and labour.  

Sarah Fiddyment will explain how recent biomolecular research has revealed that Ms.632 was actually used during childbirth at the end of the 15th century.  

Conservator Stefania Signorello will discuss how we preserve these rare items. 

There will be an opportunity for you to ask questions, whether you are participating in the building or online.



The Forum

Livestream event

Tickets via Eventbrite

Need to know


We’ll be in the Forum. To get there, take the lift or stairs up to level 1 and then follow the signs through the ‘Being Human’ gallery.

Place not guaranteed

Booking a ticket for a free event does not guarantee you a place. You should aim to arrive 15 minutes before the event is scheduled to start to claim your place. If you do not arrive on time, your place may be given to someone on the waiting list.

Waiting list

If this event is fully booked, you may still be able to attend. We will operate a waiting list which opens 30 minutes before this event starts. Arrive early, and we’ll give you a numbered ticket. If there are any unfilled places just before the start time, we will invite you to enter in order of ticket number.


This event will have live speech-to-text transcription, which may be useful for people who are D/deaf, hard of hearing, deafened or neurodiverse. The captions will be displayed on a large screen in-venue. Ticketholders for the livestream will receive a link to view the captions in a separate window.

Hearing loop

There will be a hearing loop at this event.

If you have any queries about accessibility, please email us at or call 0 2 0. 7 6 1 1. 2 2 2 2

Our event terms and conditions

About your contributors

Kierri Price


Kierri Price isis a CHASE Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded PhD student jointly at Birkbeck (University of London) and Wellcome Collection. Their research is centred on the manuscripts and artefacts of late medieval England, in particular those that focus on the protection of the body and the soul. 

Sarah Fiddyment


Dr Sarah Fiddyment is a biomolecular archaeologist. She is a Research Associate on the European Research Council-funded Beasts to Craft project at the University of Cambridge.  

Black and white photograph of Stefania Signorello.

Stefania Signorello


Stefania Signorello ACR is a Conservator at Wellcome Collection. She is co-founder of The Book & Paper Gathering

Colour photograph of Dr Elma Brenner.

Elma Brenner


Dr Elma Brenner is a Research Development Specialist who works with the medieval European collections at Wellcome Collection.