Finds in the Archives

This week an ongoing puzzle in the archives has been all but solved…

Last year one of our volunteers worked on the diaries of Dom Raymund Webster, the great librarian of Downside. In the late 1920’s and early 1930’s Webster worked on building his own boat. He wrote in his diary that every summer he would set off to his native Scotland and continue work on it. Since then, we have always puzzled about the boat, wondering what it looked like, how big it was and whatever happened to it. 

This week, a group of photographs were found which answered these questions. The pictures can be seen here, with Dom Raymund at the wheel of his boat, named ‘The Mary Rose’. We also now know that the boat was sold, in 1931, just after Webster completed it. A book on the specification of the boat was also found and a tranche of letters describing costs and the progress of the build. Webster went into such detail on his beloved boat that he even specified the type of polish to be used on the lockers in the cabin!