Matron of St Bartholomew’s Hospital, Isla Stewart (1856-1910), was the founder of the first ‘league’. She was influenced by American nurses who, following the custom of American schools and universities, formed themselves into postgraduate associations known as alumnae associations.
Isla Stewart formed an association for the trained nurses of St Bartholemew's in 1899. Its' objectives were to encourage the members to strive for a high standard of work and conduct, the mutual help and pleasure of members, and the establishment of a benevolent fund. It was a great success and Miss Stewart became its first President. They published a League News from 1900.
Many hospitals still have leagues, even if their training school has closed. Leagues still issue badges, publish a regular magazine or have a website.