Janet Helen Smellie

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: (Published 22 December 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d7982
  1. Iain R Affleck,
  2. Jack L Taylor

Janet Mountford came to Merseyside when her father became professor of Latin (and later, vice chancellor) at Liverpool University. Janet’s abilities were well recognised as a medical student and, after graduating with honours, she became house physician to Professors Henry Cohen and Charles Wells at Liverpool Royal Infirmary and worked with Professor Jeffcoate at the obstetric unit at Mill Road Hospital and also with Professor Capon at the Royal Liverpool Children’s Hospital in Myrtle Street.

In 1949 Janet married William Smellie, a fellow Liverpool graduate, and, while bringing up their young family, she worked part time for Liverpool Corporation Maternity and Child Welfare Department until joining William in the family general practice in Greenbank Drive in 1959. Together they ran the practice for the next 25 years, living above the surgery with their family. In addition, for many years she was medical officer to Greenbank School, a residential school for children with special needs, and to Birkenhead High School, where she had been a pupil.

“Dr Janet” was a well respected and much loved GP who combined running the practice and bringing up the family with seeming ease. Energy, pragmatism, common sense, and organisational skill were her hallmarks, and she was patient, kind, and friendly. Janet was always modest and unassuming and never sought the limelight. She held an enduring fascination with medicine and became president of the Liverpool Medical Institution in 1979 and in the same year was voted one of the “Women of Liverpool.”

Janet enjoyed a long and happy retirement with William in Grantown on Spey, where she particularly enjoyed gardening, walking, and spending time with her children and grandchildren. She was one of the driving forces in setting up the Grantown Heritage Museum.

She is survived by two daughters, a son, and grandchildren.


Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d7982


  • Former general practitioner, Liverpool (b 1924; q Liverpool 1947), d 19 January 2011.

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