Frances Mildred Swann

This brief biography of Miss Swann was contributed her friend Letty L. Lewenz.

Mildred Swann was born on 13th April 1893, the elder daughter of the Revd. Dr. G.G. Swann, vicar of Darnall in Sheffield, later of Pitsmoor in the same city. She was educated at Sheffield High School, a school of the Girls Public Day School Trust, and Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, where she obtained an honours degree in Modern History.

She then returned to her parents' home, helping her father in his mining parish, helping a friend in Derbyshire to run a poultry farm, and playing an active part in the Sheffield Girl Guide movement, of which she was a founder member. When her father died in 1932, she and her mother went to live in a southern suburb of Sheffield: she remained devoted to her native city. On the outbreak of the Second World War she enrolled in the Mechanised Transport Corps, a body of voluntary women drivers in which she had some adventurous times.

After her mother's death in 1945, she took up teaching, first at her own school, and then at High Storrs Girls' Grammar School, the leading Grammar school in the city. There she taught history for twelve years. She was a brilliant, original and fascinating teacher of this, or any, subject. On her retirement she went to live in Warwickshire withe her great friend Letty Lewenz, who had left High Storrs to become head of a Birmingham Grammar School.

She still taught part-time at various schools, but when in 1967 Letty became headmistress of Nottingham Girls' High School, she accompanied her, and they both came to live in Orchard House, Gedling.

In those days Gedling was still a village, and Orchard House was surrounded by fields and had a huge garden, including a pond, a stream, and a spinney. Here Miss Swann was able to indulge her great love of the countryside, gardening and animals. She always had a dog, usually a Scottie or a Great Dane, though her last was a miniature Schnauzer. She cared deeply for Gedling Parish Church, and was secretary to the Parochial Church Council for several years. She died in 1986 in her third year, and was mourned by a great number of friends, both locally and elsewhere. The floodlighting of the church was installed in her memory.