A Special Connection: Downe House and Queen’s Gate School

Discover the origin of the friendship between Downe House and Queen’s Gate School.

15 October 2021

Downe House has connections with several Schools, however, the historical connection with Queen’s Gate School is rather exceptional, dating back to the Second World War. Miss Olive Willis, Founder of Downe House, was an old friend of Queen’s Gate Principal, Miss Spalding ‘Spee’. During the war, the School was evacuated to Downe House, in the Cold Ash countryside following an invitation by Miss Willis in which she kindly offered hospitality and the use of form rooms, gymnasium, labs, piano room, playing fields and 120 acres of private grounds. About 60 girls travelled from London along with the School Cook, Chauffeur and indeed several pets.

On Friday 1 October, Mrs Alexandra Barlow (Director of External Relations) and Mrs Jane Caiger-Smith (School Archivist) enjoyed a wonderful visit to Queen’s Gate in South Kensington for a tour of the Senior School before joining Mrs Kamaryc (Principal), the School Archivist and the Communication’s team for a delicious afternoon tea at a local hotel. Many pots of tea were poured as they indulged in the nostalgia and imaging what it would have been like for those pupils all those years ago.

Thank you to Queen’s Gate and Mrs Kamaryc for their wonderful hospitality. It is delightful to see the special friendship between the two schools continue, and we look forward to the years to come.

Learn more about the History of Downe House here.

Staff members sit and have afternoon tea togetherQueen's Gate School flag outside white building

Tours & Open Mornings

The best way to find out more about Downe House is to experience it for yourself. Book a personal tour or join us at one of our Open Mornings, available throughout the year.

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