British Australian Society Visit
Downside was pleased to be the location for a visit of the British-Australian Society at the weekend, with over forty members attending for the day.
The society attended Mass in the Abbey Church, and commented later on the quality of the school’s choir before heading to the Weld Cafe for tea and coffee. After this the group was treated to a tour of the monastery library where an exhibition had been put on of material relating to Downside’s links with Australia and some items from the library’s rare book collections and archives.
Downside’s links with Australia relate to the first two Archbishops of Sydney, Bishop Bede Polding and Bishop Bede Vaughan, both monks of Downside. We also hosted the Australian cricket team here at Downside in 1930 for a warm up game for their Ashes tour.
The group was joined by actor and writer Lord Julian Fellowes for a wonderful dinner provided by the catering staff. All guests commented on the great quality of the food and the decorations of the Weld Cafe which had been provided by the society. After the dinner Lord Fellowes gave an entertaining speech and took questions from the guests.
Downside was extremely honoured to have been able to host the event and look forward to seeing the society again soon.