We write as scholars of Scottish history and/or of Scottish Catholic History, shocked at the unexpected announcement of the closure of the Scottish Catholic Archives for the foreseeable future. The fate of the archives has been a cause of concern for some time. For the last nine months the trustees of the Scottish Catholic Heritage, who are responsible for the archives, and the Bishops’ Conference have been urged repeatedly to provide some information about this. There has been no response.
We now learn, from an inadequate press release, that no more research in the archives is possible because there is a serious problem with mould. It is extraordinary that the trustees have allowed this to happen.
Presumably, this crisis is related to the decision in October to replace the archivist and his assistant with a part-time post, with the result that the building has been left unattended for days each week.
We, and everyone interested in Scottish Catholic history, deserve to be told how this has occurred, and what is being done to salvage the archives.
Immediate action is required if the mould is to be eradicated. We expect the trustees to take responsibility for this appalling situation, and for their persistent failure to communicate with scholars. The chair of the trustees, Archbishop Emeritus Mario Conti, should resign immediately as a matter of course.
(Prof) Dauvit Broun
Professor of Scottish History, University of Glasgow; former editor of the Innes Review; convenor of the Scottish History Society
(Prof) Ewen Cameron
Sir William Fraser Professor of Scottish History and Palaeography, University of Edinburgh
(Prof) Ian Campbell
Professor of Architectural History and Theory, University of Edinburgh; former member of the Scottish Catholic Heritage Commission
(Prof) Thomas Owen Clancy
Professor of Celtic, University of Glasgow; former editor of the Innes Review; convenor of the Scottish Catholic Historical Association
(Dr) John Reuben Davies
Research Associate, University of Glasgow; current editor of the Innes Review
(Prof) TM Devine
Personal Senior Research Professor and Sir William Fraser Professor Emeritus of Scottish History and Palaeography, University of Edinburgh; former convenor of the Scottish Catholic Historical Association Gilbert Márkus, Research Associate, University of Glasgow; current reviews editor of the Innes Review
(Dr) Eila Williamson
Research Associate, University of Glasgow; former editor of the Innes Review
(Dr) Jenny Wormald
Emeritus Fellow of St Hilda’s College, Oxford, Honorary Fellow of the University of Edinburgh, and chair of the Society for Scottish Medieval and Renaissance Studies
(Prof) Dauvit Broun
School of Humanities, University of Glasgow