Oscar Theodore Gnosspelius (1878-1953)

Scope and Content

Son of Adolf and Amelia, husband of Barbara Gnosspelius, and father of Janet Gnosspelius.

Administrative / Biographical History

Major Oscar Theodor Gnosspelius was an English civil engineer and pioneer seaplane builder. He was born at Brookfield House, Lydiate in 1878, the only son of Adolf Jonathan Gnosspelius. He was educated in Bedford and later was to study civil engineering at the City and Guilds Central Technical College in South Kensington. Among other places, he worked in Sweden, South Africa and Brazil. He also designed, built and tested pioneering hydroplanes in the Lake District. During the First World War he was commissioned in the Royal Naval Air Service, later Royal Air Force and was employed on the inspection staff. Between 1918 and 1925 he worked in the test department at Rochester for Short Brothers the seaplane builders. During his time at Shorts he designed an ultralight monoplane the Gnosspelius Gull. In 1925 he married the artist and sculptor Barbara Collingwood, daughter of W. G. Collingwood. Following his marriage, Gnosspelius was involved in prospecting in the Lake District for copper and other minerals. He and Barbara had one daughter, Janet, who was born in 1926. He died in 1953.