June Swann

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June Marion Swann MBE (born 1929) is a British footwear historian, formerly the Keeper of the Boot and Shoe Collection at the Northampton Museum and Art Gallery in England, where she worked for 38 years from 1950 to 1988. In the late 1950s she inaugurated the study of shoes hidden in buildings as charms.[1] Swann has been called "the world's leading authority on historic shoes."[2] She is engaged by museums around the world to identify shoes in their collections.[3]

Swann graduated with a degree in geography in 1949, and began to work at Northampton Museum and Art Gallery the following year. The town was a historical centre for the production of shoes, and she took charge of curating the museum's collection of shoes and related artefacts, the world's largest collection of historical footwear. She became a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1976, for her work at Northampton Museum.[3][4]

She was a founder member of the Costume Society, and its chairman from 1980 to 1987.

She retired in 1988 and became a freelance consultant. After retirement she travelled to Sydney to catalogue the Joseph Box Collection at the Powerhouse Museum.[5] She also assisted with the cataloguing of the Cordwainers College Historical Shoe Collection, from 1992 to 2000.[6]


  • Shoes concealed in buildings, Northampton County Council, 1970
  • A history of shoe fashions, Northampton County Council, 1975
  • Shoes, Batsford Books, 1982.
  • Shoemaking, Shire Books, 1987. Reprinted 1993, 1997, 2003, 2008.
  • "Shoes Concealed in Buildings", Costume Society Journal 30 (1996), pp. 56–69.
  • History of Footwear in Norway, Sweden and Finland, 2001.
  • with John Henry Thornton, A Glossary of Shoe Terms (Northampton, 1986)


  1. ^ Mystery of the shoe in the wall, Toronto Star, 22 June 2008
  2. ^ Weideger, Paula (24 August 1992). "You are what you wear on your feet: For June Swann, a boot is a clue to personality as well as social history. Paula Weideger talked to her". The Independent. Archived from the original on 2 February 2015. Retrieved 2 February 2015.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link) ()
  3. ^ a b Newman, Cathy (September 2006). "The Joy of Shoes: Man's Shoe". National Geographic. Archived from the original on 2 February 2015. Retrieved 2 February 2015.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link) ()
  4. ^ London Gazette, 12 June 1976
  5. ^ Louise Mitchell and Lindie Ward, Stepping Out: Three Centuries of Shoes (Ashgate, 2008), p. 12.
  6. ^ Cordwainers College Historic Shoe Collection, VADS.ac.uk