Recruitment to nursing is currently seen as a major challenge for the profession. It is tempting to assume that the difficulty is a new one. However, a close examination of the archive for one major teaching hospital in the North West of England suggests that recruitment might be seen as a perennial problem. This paper is based on an examination of the archives for the Manchester Royal Infirmary for the years 1920 to 1940. It focuses, in particular on issues of recruitment to nurse training at the infirmary and how these issues were resolved.