David Swan Collection

DAVID S. SWAN (23 January 1940 to 28 July 2014)

David Swan was born in Newcastle in 1940 and was the eldest of three children. When he was eight David attended Featherstone Castle School,Haltwhistle – eventually going on to Greshams School in Norfolk.

Even as a very small boy David always knew that he wanted to be an engineer – he made complicated working models of machines, using
Meccano, and was always keen on causing large explosions as he fired a homemade brass cannon and a series of antique air guns.

After Greshams, David attended Loughborough College to study Mechanical engineering. He also joined the Territorial Army, which
enabled him to carry on blowing things up. He won the prize for his year at Loughborough with a perfectly scaled model of yes, you’ve guessed it – a gun!

On leaving Loughborough, David completed a three-year apprenticeship at Sulzer, the well-known Marine Engine manufacturers based in
Winterthur, Switzerland. After his adventures in Switzerland, he eventually moved back to Newcastle where he started working as a
marine engineer at Swan Hunters. David was to remain at Swan Hunter for the rest of his working career when he finished up as a project quality inspection manager.

When the shipyard was eventually closed down in the 1990’s, he was the last working family link with the Swan Hunter company, one of the co-founders had been his great grandfather, Charles Sheriton Swan, though David never pushed his family connection.

For many years, David was a member of the Peels Shoot and enjoyed the camaraderie of the club until he very reluctantly had to give this up when the cold weather started to affect his hands.

Although antique pneumatics was David’s main airgun love, he also spent a lifetime collecting a wide range of other airguns and pistols which we are delighted to include in this sale.

One of his great joys was using his considerable engineering skills to restore guns he had bought for his collection back in to working order.

David may have been an antique gun enthusiast, but he also loved vintage sports cars, music boxes, barrel organs and clocks. As a favourite guest speaker at the Women’s Institutes (WIs) throughout the Newcastle and Northumberland area, he gave highly entertaining talks on music boxes and associated mechanical music.He always took a selection of music boxes from his personal collection, which always proved very popular.

Later in life David had also rediscovered his pleasure participating in organ grinder festivals and was a regular attendee at the Annual Street Organ Festival held in the City of Geraardsbergen in Belgium.

He also spent a great deal of his free time until he was over 70 raising money for Cancer Research and many other local charities after his wife Gillian suddenly passed away through the disease in 1984.

For well over 30 years David was also actively involved in many projects within his local community with the Jesmond Resident's Association and in later years became its Vice -Chairman.

Sadly, in late July 2014, David dies following a short illness, leaving behind his beloved wife Maria, sons Robert, Richard, Sheriton and stepson Chris.


Our thanks to The Swan Family, Gordon Gardiner and Air Gunner Magazine for their help in regards to information about David’s life and gun collection.



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