Donald Swan first arrived in Dartington in 1931. Initially he worked at "The Studio" at Shinner's Bridge (Now the toy shop) where he designed and made furniture and small wooden items for sale.
In 1937 he left to work for The English Classical Players, a touring theatre company, stage-managing, constructing sets and transporting them across the country whilst they were on tour.
At the out break of war the company folded and Donald, as a Conscientious Objector, started his teaching career first at Frensham Heights then at St Christopher's in Letchworth, where he had been educated, before returning to Dartington to teach at the school.
As well as running a busy woodwork department Donald was able to enjoy his other passion of sailing and "mucking about in boats". He acquired the old Dittisham car ferry and the school fleet was kept there and used throughout the summer term.
Donald was a practical person, interested in craftsmanship and the beauty of simple functional objects. Endlessly interested in how things were made, and keen to try new materials and techniques, he oversaw a great diversity of work. A steady flow of useful items made it to pupils bedrooms and homes.