THE MICHAELMAS MATILDA ON BBC RADIO SOMERSET
06 Jan 2021
In November 2020 two of our First Form pupils were interviewed – with librarian Ms Craig – by BBC Radio Somerset for the station’s ‘Story of Somerset’, as told through the county’s traditions and festivals.
Radio presenter Charlie Taylor was interested in a new tradition that Downside started last year as part of National Poetry Day – the Michaelmas Matilda (or the MM for short!). Matilda is a cautionary verse which was written by Hilaire Belloc in 1907. The choice of the poem for the new tradition was not random; Belloc‘s son, Louis (C1915), attended Downside, and his grandson, Dom Philip Jebb, was a Downside monk and Head Master at the School.
The MM challenges the entire First Form to learn Matilda in just a few weeks and perform it for fellow pupils and staff. Despite the very short preparation time and the wearing of masks, the inaugural event was a great success, enjoyed by performers and their audience alike.
“I think that if you learn some poems that you enjoy when you are younger they will stick with you [through life].” Boudica, Current First Form Day Pupil
“It was fun. It’s a good traditional thing … we should never lie.” Antoni, Current First Form Boarder