In this virtual tour of the RCN HQ, Librarian Janan Nuri delves into the history of the buildings, their famous residents – and ghosts – and the creation of a home for nursing.
20 Cavendish Square was built in 1729, and has many original features, including a grand neoclassical mural-painted staircase. The most famous resident was Liberal MP Herbert Henry Asquith, who lived here until he became prime minister in 1908. The building was purchased by Lady Cowdray for the RCN in 1920; 20 Cavendish Square became the Cowdray Club (a club for nurses and professional women opened in 1922) and a new, purpose-built College was added at the rear, formally opening in 1926. On March 1, 1922, the Royal College of Nursing Library and Archive was founded.
This event was held online in March 2022, to celebrate 100 years of our library.