Downside in Photographs

With recent hard work on our photographic archives, we have unearthed some real treasures of the Downside site, the earliest images dating from the 1850’s. 

Many images show the first buildings which were erected in 1823, designed by renowned local architect Edmund Goodridge, who also created Beckford’s Tower and The Corridor in Bath. The Old Chapel and first school buildings were soon added to in the 1850’s as the school outgrew its surroundings. 

What is now a hallway and corridor used to be the main school room, and what used to be a theatre is now the Petre Library. In the 1870’s more work was again begun, adding dormitories and school rooms, whilst at the same time, the monastery was also under development. In the late 1870’s work commenced on the Abbey Church, the first section of this great building completed in 1882. By 1905 the choir was completed, with the nave being added in 1925. 

All of these building works were photographed and we have this wonderful collection of images of the development of Downside. The Archives and Library team have begun to give talks to the school here on the history of the site, and it has been a pleasure to see the pupils try and guess what a room or building used to be and what it is now. 

If you would like to purchase images, some can be purchased by emailing Steve Parsons here. Images cost £9.60 and a full breakdown of costs can be found here.