Patrick Cadell (1941-2010)


Patrick Cadell’s death, at the comparatively young age of sixty-nine, has deprived the archival community of one of its most persuasive advocates. He was also one of the true gentlemen of the profession, and he will be remembered with great affection for his exquisite good manners. He had a natural disposition to be hospitable, and was capable of great generosity.

After a period working for the British Museum in London, Patrick returned to his native Scotland in 1968, in order to take up a post in the Manuscripts Department of the National Library in Edinburgh. He became Head of the Department of Manuscripts in 1983, and was promoted to Keeper of the Records of Scotland (National Archivist) in 1990. During his tenure at the Scottish Record Office (now the National Archives of Scotland) over a ten year period, he constantly demonstrated that a national archive institution could successfully embrace the digital revolution without forgetting its commitment to learning and without losing its soul.


Patrick was also extremely influential on the international stage. He was one of the authors of the first Report on Archives in the European Union (1994), later known as ‘the Black Book’. Later he would recount how a chapter, which he had originally written in his flawless French, had been translated into English and back again into French by European Commission staff - with sometimes highly amusing results.


He also played a major role in the preparation of the second European Report, which was finally published in 2005. In ICA he served as Counsellor on the CITRA Bureau 1992-94 and CITRA President (and member of the Executive Board) 1995-96. He hosted a memorable CITRA conference in Edinburgh in 1997. Between 1996 and 2000 he acted as Secretary of the Board for the co-ordination of ICA’s European Programme, which paved the way for the establishment of the European branch (EURBICA) in 2001. After retirement from the Scottish Record Office at the end of 2000, Patrick remained active as ICA’s Liaison Officer with the European Union and the Council of Europe. At the Vienna Congress in August 2004, he was honoured for his distinguished service to ICA by the award of Life Membership.

Patrick Cadell combined a deep love for, and knowledge of, his own country, with an unshakeable belief in the value of international cooperation. He was both a proud Scot and a true internationalist.

Further details about Patrick's career can be found in the obituary published in The Scotsman on 25 June 2010.


David Leitch

ICA Secretary General