This month, Downside School were humbled to receive an extremely generous donation from the late Dr. Peter Edwards (C50) of his life’s work collecting butterflies and moths from around the world. This stunning and vast collection have been meticulously displayed and have been left to Downside to use as a resource within our classes.

Peter’s passion was ignited during his time here at Downside and continued throughout his lifetime, where he became a Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society. The science department, and particularly the biologists and naturalists amongst us, were very excited by the arrival of the collection. 

Hannah Alcántara, Teacher of Biology said ‘The variety is astonishing! What a wonderful resource for introducing students to the diversity of the natural world. I cannot wait to use them in the classroom’.

Merille Ryder, Senior Science Technician followed by explaining, ‘Dr. Edwards’ cabinets are a treasure trove and the British butterflies and moths are my favourite. We usually only catch fleeting looks when out in the field which can make identification tricky but having specimens to study will grow our knowledge of natural history.

The collection is currently being catalogued so that teachers can request particular trays of specimens to use in their classes throughout the school, not just science.

To find out more about leaving a legacy to Downside, please click here or contact Jessica Newman at