Search

Obituary: Librarian Gwynydd Gosling was an authority on Highgate’s literary past who served community for 50 years

08:00 18 January 2014

Gwynydd Gosling died in December aged 91

Gwynydd Gosling died in December aged 91

Archant

Gwynydd Gosling, who served as librarian at the Highgate Literary and Scientific Institution for 50 years, has died aged 91.

A founder member of the institution’s archive committee and an authority on Highgate’s history and literary past, Mrs Gosling was frequently contacted by academic researchers from all over the world, particularly in connection with writer Mary Kingsley, on whom she was an authority, but also on poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge or any aspect of Highgate’s history.

She was born in Nelson, Lancashire, in 1921. Her father was a headmaster and her mother helped him as a school organiser.

When they separated, Mrs Gosling and her mother moved to Highgate in 1939, her mother taking the job of librarian at the Highgate Literary and Scientific Institution while Gwynydd began her career at Paddington Library.

There she met her husband John Gosling, but their marriage was delayed until 1942 because both were in the services.

Mrs Gosling was a radar operator helping to defend coastal installations until leaving the army in 1944 to have a daughter, Susan.

Throughout the 1940s and ‘50s, Mrs Gosling and her mother helped to rebuild the institution (it had suffered bomb damage and financial adversity) and helped it to thrive, organising film shows, gramophone record evenings, whist drives and talks on all kinds of literary and historical subjects.

In 1954 the first classes started; art, French and music appreciation, setting the template for activities the institution offers today.

After her mother’s death in 1968, Mrs Gosling took over. In 1971 she suffered a terrible blow with the death of her daughter, of a sudden embolism, aged 26.

Thereafter Mrs Gosling channelled all her energies into the library, plus the archives committee established in 1974, while beginning to build collections around her many personal interests.

These included Imperial Russia, the Russian Orthodox Church, British history and the monarchy, royal families of Europe, and historical figures of Highgate.

She mounted exhibitions, beginning in 1972 with 17th century Highgate. Her favourite was Coleridge and His World, in 1984, which had an albatross high above the hall, with a five foot wingspan.

Mrs Gosling gave dozens of lectures, often Highgate-related. She gave a lecture about the institution at the Royal Society of Arts in 1981, and another at the Royal Institution in 1986. In 1985 she was invited to conduct a five-day tour, Coleridge In The West Country, and this was repeated in 1992.

Mrs Gosling was a central figure in the Highgate community for more than 70 years. She is fondly remembered by many for whom she was a “go-to” figure in the library for all kinds of counsel.

Her funeral, which all are welcome to attend, will take place today (Thursday) at 2pm at St George’s ­Cathedral (Antiochan Orthodox Church), at Redhill and Albany Street, Camden Town.

0 comments

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Friday, December 2, 2016

Police are appealing for witnesses after the death of a woman who was hit by a coach in Camden.

Friday, December 2, 2016

A City boss from Hampstead likened to the ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ has been jailed for a year after sexually assaulting two women.

Friday, December 2, 2016

A pedestrian was hit by a car in South Grove in a road traffic collision this afternoon.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Welcome, hope and tolerance have been the three key messages for students learning about refugees.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Camden Council has claimed a “major victory” after Airbnb announced today that it will limit entire home listings to 90 days a year in London.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Haringey has the third-highest proportion of homeless residents in England, new figures have revealed.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

In the first of a series written from the Greek town of Thessaloniki, currently home to more than 20,000 refugees, a trainee journalist from Kentish Town writes about her life as a volunteer

Thursday, December 1, 2016

A pair of Barnet schools believe the future is bright after announcing a “strategic partnership” on Monday.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now