Library Europe's largest nursing-specific collection

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Using the archives

We have the most important collection of nursing history in the UK.

The majority of records relate to the work and history of the Royal College of Nursing. We also try to reflect the rich and diverse voice of nursing through our personal collections and oral histories.

Please contact us if you have any queries.

The Archive catalogue is the best way to search our records and what they contain in more detail.

The Archive has an extensive collection which contains the RCN corporate archive, personal papers and oral histories from nurses and members of the RCN.

A selection of images of historical items from our collection can be viewed on the Digital Archive.

The RCN Archive, which is based in Edinburgh, is open Mon-Fri 9.30am-4.30pm for research visits by appointment. You may find the information you want in our digital archive or by checking for collection and biographical information on our catalogue. If you don't find what you need please get in touch with the archives team to discuss your research needs - contact

Visit our page for information on family history and the records that we hold.

We are always looking to add to our collection.
If you have any nursing related diaries, workbooks, photographs, badges etc which you would like us to have and look after for future generations, then please get in touch with us. 

To donate to please use this form

You can now gain access to a selection of high resolution images from our extensive collection.

Any member of the public can license images from our Archive's collection by going through our partner Mary Evans Picture Library and browsing the images on nursing. Scroll down to 'The Royal College of Nursing' to view the full collection.

If there is a particular image you would like that does not appear yet, we can organise to supply this to them.