Early Career

Early Career

1

Janie's first degree was in art and design in the 1960s. She went to work for architects the Grima Brothers and then for Fitch & Co, a design branch of the growing Conran empire.

After travelling and working in South Africa for a year, Janie formed a design partnership, Mainman Associates, with a former Conran colleague.

Moving on to study landscape architecture in the mid-1970s, Janie combined her studies at Thames Polytechnic with consultancy on the design of buildings and landscape at the Home Office.

Much of the work involved historic buildings and landscape, and Janie became increasingly aware of, and concerned about, the vulnerability of neglected historic sites and the conservation issues involved.

After completing her diploma, Janie grew restless at the Home Office, and then fate seemed to show its hand. A neighbour in Kew, perusing the pages of the Estates Gazette, spotted an advertisement for the post of landscape agent at Painshill.

View across the lake to the Gothic Temple

The neighbour, although she had no particular knowledge of Janie's interest in Painshill, cut out the advertisement and posted it through Janie's letterbox.

Since 1974, Elmbridge Borough Council had been pursuing an enlightened policy - unique for a local authority at the time - of trying to rescue Painshill by buying up parcels of the land that had originally formed the 250-acre estate.

By 1981, councillors had acquired 158 acres of land around the lake, which formed the main ornamental landscape of Painshill. With a £25,000 grant from Surrey County Council and £45,000 from the Countryside Commission, they handed Janie the remit to restore the landscape to Hamilton's original vision and to open Painshill to the public.

Following Janie's appointment in April 1981, the Painshill Park Trust was formed, with representatives from Elmbridge Borough Council, the The Gardens Trust, the National Trust, the Royal Horticultural Society and Merrist Wood Agricultural College.

Beginning at Painshill