Prunella Briance (1926-2017), natural childbirth campaigner and founder of the National Childbirth Trust. After her own traumatic experiences of childbirth she became a passionate campaigner to improve the health of women and their experience of giving birth. The founding inspiration for the Natural Childbirth Association, later to become the National Childbirth Trust, has grown since its foundation in 1957 to become the pre-eminent provider of ante and post-natal support for parents. Her radical ideas at that time (such as having fathers present in labour wards) have been accepted as common practice. Prunella Briance, had been inspired by Dr. Grantly Dick-Reid, a GP practising in Suffolk, who in 1942 has written a “Childbirth Without Fear”. The NCT began with Prunella Briance advertising a meeting in the personal columns of the Times announcing that “A Natural Childbirth Association is to be formed for the promotion and better understanding of the Dick-Read system.” In January 1957 the inaugural meeting of the new organisation was held at a packed Caxton Hall in Westminster. In her later years, during which she continued to be active – she was an enthusiastic artist, discovered a passion for singing in her 40s, and played tennis.
Prunella lived in Lavender Cottage Seaford from 1962 to 1970. Lavender Cottage is at the junction of Steyne Road and Crooked Lane and would have fronted onto the quayside of ancient harbour of Seaford when it was a cinque port.
The BBC News has published an interesting article celebratiing 60 years since the formation of the National Childbirth Trust. Further information about the life and work of Prunella Briance please see obituaries published in the Independent and the Guardian