Science Museum to care for "precious" Sir Patrick Moore archive collected at astronomy great's home

By Ben Miller | 09 December 2014

Items personally collected at Sir Patrick Moore's former home will be made available to public by Science Museum

A black and white photo of a male astronomer in a suit looking through a telescope
Sir Patrick Moore with 'Oscar' at Farthings (1995)© Chris Doherty
On the second anniversary of his death, a “precious” collection of objects once owned by Sir Patrick Moore, built up at the inspirational astronomer’s West Sussex home, has been given to the Science Museum.

Around 70 of the inimitable television presenter’s observation books and a 12-and-a-half inch reflecting telescope, nicknamed Oscar and used by Moore to map the moon, are among the highlights in the archive.

Draft scripts and memorabilia from The Sky at Night – Moore's monthly BBC programme which holds the record for the longest running TV series - are also represented.

A photo of a man in a red suit cradling a black and white cat in a garden next to a window
Sir Patrick Moore with cat Jeannie, in a photo taken by Brian May in 2001© Courtesy Trustees of the Sir Patrick Moore Heritage Trust
“We, Patrick’s friends and executors, have worked for a year to try to find the most fitting home for his core astronomical and personal archive,” said Dr Brian May, the astrophysicist and Queen guitarist who was a close friend of Moore.

“We’re sure Patrick would be honoured that his legacy – a national treasure - will be in the perfect place, safe in Britain’s top scientific museum, with plans for the material to be accessible to future generations. We feel there is no more fitting resting place for Patrick’s legendary life’s work.”

From 1968, Moore lived and worked at Farthings, in Selsey, where he made detailed drawings and records of the nocturnal skies, wrote manuscripts for his canon of astronomy and fiction books and rested after filming.

“Sir Patrick Moore was a towering figure in astronomy and broadcasting during a remarkable career spanning most of the 20th century,” said Alison Boyle, the Deputy Keeper of Science and Medicine at the museum, which will catalogue the works at its Library and Archives in Wiltshire.

“This archive will help to inform the Museum’s future astronomy and space displays, and will become an important resource for all historians of popular astronomy.”

The first episode of The Sky at Night aired on April 24 1957.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

A photo of a large globe on a small white base against a black background
Patrick Moore's Russian moon globe, based on 1959 spacecraft photographs© Courtesy Trustees of the Sir Patrick Moore Heritage Trust
A photo of a contraption featuring a series of diagrams of elements of outer space
Pocket planisphere made by Patrick Moore (1937)© Courtesy Trustees of the Sir Patrick Moore Heritage Trust
A black and white photo of a man making notes in a book by a window inside a study
Sir Patrick Moore in his study at Farthings with observation notebook (1995)© Chris Doherty
A black and white photo of a man in a suit standing next to a glass house in a garden
Sir Patrick Moore in his garden at Farthings (1995)© Chris Doherty
An image of two drawings of a planet in outer space
Drawings by Sir Patrick Moore in his Saturn Book (1971-95, Apr 12/23 1983)© Courtesy Trustees of the Sir Patrick Moore Heritage Trust
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I went to see Patrick at his home in 2012. We had a nice chat, talked Brian May and he gave me a book on the Moon. Very hospitable. I reminded him that He gave me a lift when I was a student which was the fastest conversation I have ever had. He sped up my brain and was very inspiring. After I got my degree I went on to Max Planck Institutes in München, visited many physics institutes in europe and India and worked in the Physics department at Sussex University.
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