Phyllis Mary BRYANT

Scope and Content

The collection consists primarily of material reflecting the early life of Phyllis Bryant prior to her move to Australia in 1931 and includes photographs, principally of student life at Bedford Physical Training College during the years 1923-1926 and of the England hockey tour to Australia in 1927; identity and registration cards; reminiscences of Phyllis on her early life; material relating to the thanksgiving service for Phyllis; and a monograph on the history of Frensham School.

Administrative / Biographical History

Phyllis Mary Bryant was born on 29 October 1903 in Addlestone, Surrey, the eldest of four children of former RN Commander Charles William Bryant and his wife Lily Violet (nee Hickes). Following his resignation from the Royal Navy in 1902, Charles Bryant joined the engineering firm Peter Brotherhood Ltd. who had contracts with the Admiralty to supply turbines to battleships.

In 1907 the family moved to Fletton, near Peterborough where Phyllis attended first a 'Dame school' run by a Miss Gibson and then Peterborough High School. In 1916 she became a boarder at Boston House School for Girls in Eastbourne, leaving in 1921 with the Senior Oxford Learning Certificate (First Class). For the next two years Phyllis remained at home, assisting her mother with her charitable works, running a Girl Guide Company and playing hockey for Northamptonshire where she met the England hockey player, Marjorie Pollard (1899-1982). On Marjorie's recommendation, in 1923 Phyllis applied for and was accepted by Bedford Physical Training College to study for their three-year Diploma, completing her studies in 1926.

In May 1927 Phyllis arrived in Australia as a member of an England hockey team, undertaking a nine week tour of the country playing matches against Australia and state teams, and was one of four players who chose to remain in Australia for several weeks following the end of the tour to coach in schools. On her return to England, Phyllis took up a teaching post at the Sheffield High School for Girls from 1927 to 1929. In 1931 Phyllis answered an advertisement for staff at Frensham School in Mittagong, New South Wales, a school she had first visited in 1927, and subsequently taught at the school for three years before returning to England in 1934 to care for her dying father. Following the death of her father in early 1935, Phyllis joined Bedford Physical Training College for a year where she taught anatomy, coached hockey and supervised teaching practice. At the end of September 1936 Phyllis joined the England hockey team on their month-long tour of the USA as manager and umpire.

Phyllis returned to Australia for the third and final time in 1937, rejoining Frensham School initially as assistant to the headmistress, Winifred West, before succeeding to the post of headmistress in 1938, a position she held until her retirement in 1965.

Phyllis died on 11 April 2000 in Victoria, Australia.

Acquisition Information

The papers were gifted to the University of Bedfordshire by Jane Atkinson, great-niece of Phyllis Bryant on 31 May 2017, under Accession No. A2017/004.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from University of Bedfordshire Special Collections. Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Special Collections will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.

Related Material

A more extensive archive on the life of Phyllis Mary Bryant is held at Frensham School, Mittagong, New South Wales, Australia.