Liverpool - Old Swan

Our story began when a zealous young priest Fr. Maddocks heard of the charitable works done by the Sisters of Mercy at Mount Street, Liverpool. His parish, St. Oswalds was then in its infancy; numbers were large but help was inadequate. He was so anxious for the sisters to come to Old Swan that he gave up his own small house for their use. St. Oswalds Convent, Old Swan was thus founded from Mount Vernon in 1851

In 1851, nine years after the foundation of the parish, Old Swan was a village some two and a half miles from Mount Vernon.  Though surrounded by fields, Old Swan was close to the industrial area of Liverpool. The convent was very close to factories manufacturing ropes, glass and borax and near to three quarries, an ice-house and a tannery. 

The Sisters quickly became involved in the activities of the school which had been founded some six years earlier. They contributed in all aspects of the developing parish communty. Only three years later the school was so overcrowded that it had to be replaced by the building which now serves as a Youth Club. 

The foundation thrived and more expansion was needed.  In 1880 the convent was enlarged and in 1902 new school buildings were erected.  The new Infant and Junior School accommodated both boys and girls while the Senior School was for girls only.

As the years went by the cemetery in Mount Vernon was filled and so a new one was approved on the site of the Old Swan Convent.  Eventually all the Sisters from Mount Vernon were re-interred in Old Swan along with many other Sisters in the beautiful setting of the Convent garden. 

This cemetery contains a memorial to the Sisters who nursed the soldiers with Florence Nightingale in the Military Hospitals during the Crimean War. Two of the Sisters died while in the Crimea and the third Sister who volunteered for service there died after returning home.

There are two of us now living at St. Oswald’s, both retired from school still involved with the schools. We continue to make mercy the business of our lives through prayer ministry, the visitation of the sick and elderly in their homes and in the local hospitals, through hospitality to visitors and sharing in the life of our local parish communities as Eucharistic Ministers and Readers at the Eucharist.