The General Register Office is part of Her Majesty's Passport Office and oversees civil registration in England and Wales. Use this site to order certificates online and search a free new version of the GRO historic birth and death indexes. The birth index covers 1837-1915 and is the only index to include the mother's maiden 1837-1915 (previously only available from July 1911). It also includes all full names and not initials. The death index covers 1837-1957 and includes the age of death 1837-1957 (previously only available from 1866). Search options are limited to plus or minus 2 years. You also have to search each year by gender. You need register (free) and set up a password so that you can use this site.
TIP: Use the FreeBMD site to locate possible year entries you are interested in, across a range of years, and then use the new GRO indexes to obtain the extra information.
TIP: No maiden name shown indicates a likely illegitimate birth.