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Evelyn Mary Lobley

Evelyn Lobley (1902-1977) was a self-taught expert in the identification of bog mosses and Sphagnum.

Lobley started her career as a nurse but she suffered from frequent spells of ill health. The Northumberland countryside gave her an escape from her lifelong illness and the confines of her home in Hexham, as well as presenting her with the challenge of mapping the locations of mosses (bryophytes) growing across the North East.

With little formal education or training in botany, Evelyn built scientific collaborations and published papers with other researchers whom she met through the British Bryological Society (B.B.S). She became the bog moss referee for the B.B.S. for 22 years, and was its president between 1960 and 1961.

Evelyn conducted extensive fieldwork and travelled further afield to Northern Ireland, Scotland and the islands to study the bog mosses growing there. Her collection of specimens included species of moss rarely found in Britain such as Water Rock-Bristle Seligeria (Trochobryum) carniolica from the Simonside Hills, Northumberland. Upon her death, she donated her collection of 4500 moss specimens to the Hancock Museum (now the Great North Museum: Hancock).

Evelyn felt greatly encouraged and supported by her fellow members of the Natural History Society when she attended her first meeting in 1930.

As a lifelong member and knowledgeable leader figure in the Society, she helped new members with their field work, furthering the legacy of natural science in the region.

Read Evelyn Lobley’s obituary from the Journal of Bryology, 1982.