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Oral history

Heritage Lottery FundIn 2008 the RCN received heritage lottery funding under the My Heritage grant scheme to improve access to a vast collection of oral history interviews recorded with nurses over the last 20 years.

More than 700 hours of recordings take you into the lives and experiences of individual nurses dating from the early 20th to the 21st centuries, through two world wars, breakthrough medical developments, the beginnings of the NHS and great social changes. Leaders of the nursing profession are represented alongside ordinary nurses working in every field of nursing across the UK.

The RCN worked with the heritage charity group, the Living Memory Association, on community and volunteer involvement for the project. The transcriptions produced by the project have provided the oral history information available in the archives catalogue.

More information about these recordings and other interviews can be found in the archive catalogue.

For further information or advice on how to access the recordings and transcriptions, you can contact the RCN archive staff by emailing archives@rcn.org.uk

The oral history collection is a research resource which has been used in many publications. For example, Sisters: Memories from the Courageous Nurses of World War Two by Dr Barbara Mortimer in association with the RCN, which contains first hand accounts of wartime experiences from nurses: military, civilian, those in occupied territory and refugee nurses. Published by Hutchison 2012.

Sample recordings