JANET GNOSSPELIUS 1926-2010
We were sorry to hear of the death of Janet Gnosspelius, who - although mainly associated with the Woolton Society - was a founder member of the Wavertree Society in 1977. She died on 18th July at the age of 83. Janet, who was a qualified architect, devoted the latter part of her life to conservation and local history.
Janet was raised in Coniston, in the Lake District, but her roots were in Liverpool. Her grandfather Adolf Gnosspelius, though born in Stockholm, worked as a stockbroker in Liverpool (and was Swedish consul for a time) in the 1850s-80s, while her other grandfather W.G. Collingwood, who was John Ruskin's secretary at Brantwood, was Liverpool born. Janet trained at Liverpool University, where she was one of the very few female students in the School of Architecture.
After graduating in 1948, Janet worked in Liverpool for about three years with Herbert J Rowse, before moving back to the Lakes where she was involved mainly in church restoration projects. Following the death of her parents, she returned to Liverpool in 1966 and settled in Woolton. In 1972 she and others founded the Woolton Society to ensure that an eye was kept on potential threats to the area's character and heritage. Five years later, she was asked by a group of Wavertree residents to advise on the setting-up of a similar organisation there. It was Janet who put them in touch with the Civic Trust, and took the minutes of the inaugural meeting of the Wavertree Society in May 1977. She was a member of the Society's first Committee, and in later years gave useful and convincing evidence in support of the Society at the two public inquiries into the proposed demolition of Sandown Hall.
More recently, Janet devoted her energies to researching her own family history, but she remained a respected and valued source of advice, guidance and knowledge. She will be greatly missed.