The Linen Guild of Nottingham General Hospital (GHN) was a body of volunteers, formed by resolution of a meeting held at the hospital on 13 December 1921. The original suggestion was apparently made by Miss Isabel Liddle [GHN matron 1924-1941] who, on moving to the GHN in May 1920, brought with her information about the Swansea General Hospital Linen Guild and urged that a similar body should be set up at Nottingham. An account of the Nottingham Guild's development is given more fully in 'The Story of the Linen Guild' (1984) (Hlf F 2), which incorporates Miss Liddle's report and credits her with the initial suggestion.
The original object of the Guild was to provide GHN patients and staff with all the garments they needed, and provide the Matron with funds to buy sheets, blankets and quilts. Sewing groups gave help in kind, and cash was raised through subscriptions collected by members. The aims were later broadened to include furnishings and fittings required on the wards, and later still extended to tackle large projects, such as the redecoration and re-lighting of the Chapel (1965), and the provision of a bus for elderly and infirm patients (1984).
The original meeting was attended by 82 ladies. Growth was rapid in the early days and by 1925 there were 440 members. In 1956 the Guild voted to join the National Association of Leagues of Hospital Friends and changed its name to the General Hospital Nottingham Linen Guild and League of Hospital Friends. For the first time, men were allowed to enrol (although very few, apparently, did).
Whereas in the pre-NHS days the Guild's aims had been straightforward, if difficult to achieve, they were increasingly subject after 1948 to change, as the Guild sought to adapt to the evolving character of the hospital. When a plan to turn the GHN into a premier stroke treatment centre promised to save the hospital from closure, the League formed the Bicentenary Appeal, which led to the opening of the Stroke Research Unit at GHN in 1983.
As more and more GHN departments moved away from the site in the late 1980s, the League's operations also shrank. The last May Morning Market and the final Sewing Party were held in 1988. The League's Executive Committee met for the last time on 25 March 1992, after 51 years.