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Library Europe's largest nursing-specific collection

Royal College of Nursing Archive

Using the archive

The RCN Archives contains some of the most important collections dedicated to the history of the nursing profession in the UK.

The majority of records relate to the work and history of the Royal College of Nursing and include postcards, photographs, pamphlets, badges and much more. The RCN Archive catalogue contains descriptions and some images of the records we hold in our Edinburgh Archive. The catalogue provides details on how to search and what it contains in more detail.

Please be aware that access to the Archives is by appointment only.

Should you wish to book a visit, please send your details to: RCN Library and Archive Services

These should include:

  • Your name
  • Contact email address 
  • Information about your archives request
Archive accreditation

Visiting the Archive

The RCN Archive is held in our Edinburgh office and is only accessible by appointment. 

Consulting hours are 9.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday.

To book a visit, please complete the appointment form

Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any other queries. 

Special collections

Special Collections

Historical printed collections (rare books, pamphlets and other publications) and history of nursing books can be viewed at RCN HQ. Please contact us in advance to see historical journals over 25 years old.

See this page for details on some of the items we hold.

Read the 'about' page to find out about our catalogue's history.

Using the archive

Searching tips

Each Archive has their own search terms. Use these tips to help you with some of the search terms/file names that the RCN Archive use:

Catalogue search terms

Use the glossary for more information on the levels of the Archive.