Leslie Parker was one of the speakers at the 1978 seminar at Spode House that marked the beginning of CAS and one of a number of senior archive professionals who played an active part in founding the Society and in its early days.
The 1978 meeting was followed by a conference in 1979 where it was agreed that the work begun should be made permanent. The name Catholic Archives Society was agreed on, a steering committee was set up with Dr Parker as chairman and the committee’s first meeting was held at his house. Its aims were stated in the first issue of Catholic Archives in 1981, when in his chairman’s introduction Dr Parker summarised the Society’s aims and progress and added ‘The Catholic Archives Society hopes to provide some ways by which those responsible for the archives of the Church in these parts might make themselves better able to fulfil their role and discharge their responsibilities’.
The early years of the Society saw the establishing of the annual conference and the Bulletin and the preparation of pamphlets on the classification of archives of dioceses and religious orders. Additionally Dr Parker himself wrote the first edition of Archives Principles and Practice and much of what he said has been retained in later editions.
Dr Parker spent much of his working life in Leicestershire, first as assistant county archivist, then as county archivist. His attendance at CAS meetings lessened over the years but he will be remembered by early members as an enthusiastic and committed founder.