The League was founded in 1899 by Isla Stewart, who was matron at Barts from 1887–1910 and one of the founding members of the International Council of Nurses. It was the first and is, therefore, the oldest league of nurses in the UK. Today we have over 2,000 members.
In a very early edition of the League News, Isla Stewart expressed her reasons for forming the League. These were:
- by union, to encourage the members to maintain a high standard of work and conduct
- for mutual help and pleasure
- to promote the establishment of a fund for the relief of former nurses of Barts who are in distressed circumstances and need either temporary or permanent help
Nurse’s Uniforms At Barts – 1940 to 1995
On starting our training, it was made very clear that makeup, nail varnish, wristwatches and jewellery were all forbidden! Black lace-up shoes were to be worn with black stockings, and each day you put on a clean starched white apron. When you started training you were given a knee-length cape, which was black with a red lining and two long red straps to cross over in the front to keep it on. Your name was embroidered on the collar of the cape.
Discover More About The League’s History
St Bartholomew's Hospital Archives & Museum
St Bartholomew’s Hospital Museum tells the story of the hospital’s nine centuries of care, including the central role of nursing. Although they are unable to take in every donation offered, for reasons of space or duplication, they are always interested in acquiring new material, particularly related to the history of nursing and nurse training at the hospital from the 1960s onwards. If you have material that you think may be of interest to the archives or museum, please contact them via email.
You can find out more about the collections, as well as a link to the online catalogue for the collections, on their website.