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The archive holds a collection of around 3,000 nursing and hospital badges donated to the Royal College of Nursing and more than 600 images of badges are available to view on the digital archive.

The collection contains nursing and hospital badges, awards, medals and nursing uniform accessories such as belt buckles, epaulets and buttons. It has grown through donations and gifts to the Royal College of Nursing and includes items from around the world.

Private collectors, often nurses themselves, have bequeathed their collections to the Royal College of Nursing. Jennifer Meglaughlin, a trained nurse who became renowned for writing the first history of British Nursing Badges, left her collection of 933 badges and medals to the archive. Another 460 badges and medals were bequeathed by the respected nursing academic Francis Biley in 2013.

The RCN archive has also received almost 2,000 individual nursing and hospital badge and medal donations, many associated with personal collections.

We have more information about using the archives which includes exploring the catalogue and visiting the archive.