Concluding our Volunteers Week events was a fascinating workshop on the Downside Abbey Library collections from Bristol University’s George Ferzoco. Not only did our volunteers enjoy the day, but they were also joined by members of the monastic community, eager to discover more about items in the library. 

In the morning there was a focus on the manuscripts used in our recent Voices From the Cloister exhibition, finding out more about each volume and its history. Volunteers and monks were able to hold each volume, a real privilege, and discover their importance to Downside. 

Then, after lunch, the group discussed items from Downside Library’s incunable collections (books printed prior to 1501.) Each volunteer was given a volume and asked to tell the group a little about it, with George filling in the gaps. Many of the volunteers were surprised by the depth of the early printed book collections – with one dating from the 1460’s! 

The week has really been a fantastic opportunity for us all here at Downside to say a big thank you to the volunteers at the Abbey who do all the work. Without them all, the library, archives and visitor centre just wouldn’t tick along the way they do. So a big thanks to them and also all those who have helped to make Volunteers Week 2019 such a success here at Downside. 

To find out more about the archives and library click here.