Royal College of Nursing Archives


42 South Oswald Road
United Kingdom


The Royal College of Nursing Archives oral collection contains over 700 interviews with nurses, nursing leaders, Department of Health, National Health Service and Royal College of Nursing (RCN) members and staff from across the UK and some from overseas. All of the individuals have some vital connection to nursing and relate information about themselves and their careers and experiences in nursing. Most include comments about nursing as a profession politically or historically and some refer to important developments, changes or events. Topics covered include military and wartime nursing, district nursing, immigration, the growth of nursing research and professional leadership. Over 400 of the interviews have been conducted by RCN staff or volunteers since 1986, but the RCN Archives also accept donations of interviews from nursing research projects. Most of the interviews were originally recorded on cassette, some on minidisk and more recently digitally as mp3 or wav files. Where possible the RCN Archives has converted these to wav files, with mp3 copies. New recordings since 2008 are all wav files. Most interviews are 60-90 minutes long, but a few extend to 6 hours. Our catalogue provides details of individual interviews where possible with a short biography:

Opening Times: 

Mon-Fri 9am-5pm by appointment only. Local public holidays apply (Edinburgh).

Access conditions: 

Public access is allowed, although we more commonly work with researchers associated with a university. Interview transcriptions and recordings are only available by appointment on-site at the RCN Archives in Edinburgh or at the RCN Library and Heritage Centre in London under supervision. Identification will be required. Research access is free. Copying is not allowed, but permission can be arranged for use of extracts. RCN holds copyright assignment for the majority of the collection, however some interviewers have retained copyright. Please contact for initial enquiries.



Contact name 1: 

Fiona Bourne

Email 1: