Professor William Nixon directed the obstetric unit at University College Hospital, London from 1946 to 1966. These were innovative times in obstetrics and gynaecology, with Nixon one of the more recognized innovators. Much that is now accepted as normal good practice was pioneered by Nixon, and today's management of pregnant women and their babies stems from his work. His principal aim was to change the art of midwifery into the science of obstetrics; he appointed women doctors when they were still frowned upon in many hospitals; and he was adamant about the right of a woman to terminate her pregnancy if that was the right thing for her and her child. This is a fascinating glimpse into the life of an innovating clinician who did so much to improve the lives of women, and will be of interest to everyone involved in women's health and childbirth.