Patrick, Lord Cormack (1939-2024)

27 February 2024

The Society is very sorry to learn of the death, on Sunday 25 February, of the politician and historian, Patrick, Lord Cormack. In addition to his long career as an MP (1970-2010) and member of the House of Lords, Lord Cormack was a dedicated and greatly respected advocate for history and cultural heritage. 

Before entering parliament, Lord Cormack taught history in schools. From the 1970s, he served a very wide range of organisations dedicated to historical research and preservation. These included, among many others, the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts (1981–2003), the Historic Churches Preservation Trust (from 2005, now the National Churches Trust), and the History of Parliament Trust, of which he was Chair from 2001 to 2016.

In 2010 Lord Cormack was elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. For the RHS, he played an important role in connecting the Society to UK parliamentarians across party lines in the Commons and the Lords. These contacts included regular meetings between Ministers for Higher Education, the RHS Council, and other historians to consider subjects of significance and concern to the Society. 

Members of the Society’s Council last met with Lord Cormack in late 2023. With him Councillors were involved in planning further meetings with government ministers, and with parliamentarians interested in speaking up for history, until shortly before his death. In continuing and deepening these ties at Westminster, the Society seeks to maintain Lord Cormack’s valuable contribution to history’s place in national life.