“Academics last night accused the Catholic Church of “mis-management and indifference” after staff shortages forced the closure of the Scottish Catholic Archives, in the latest blow to one of the country’s most prized historical resources.
Columba House in Edinburgh, which houses the archives, has closed its doors indefinitely because there is no-one left to look after the service.
Curator, Andrew Nicholl, has been absent on long-term sick leave – which The Herald understands is due to the stress of the current shake-up of the archives. Just days ago, his assistant was told by the Church to leave immediately rather than work out a month’s notice after she submitted her resignation.
Her departure left the archives unmanned, and researchers who had made appointments to view documents were given just 24 hours’ notice that the service was being closed.
It comes amid controversial moves to uproot the archives – which contain more than a million documents dating back 800 years, including letters from Mary Queen of Scots and papers relating to Oscar Wilde – from their home in Edinburgh and distribute them to various locations across Scotland.
Professor Tom Devine, Scotland’s most prominent historian, said: “Whatever the merit of the decision to disperse the Scottish Catholic Archives – and they are few to the point of invisibility –- this development is the latest in a long line of mismanage…..”
Helen McArdle, HeraldScotland, 29.6.2012