I first met Sir Patrick Moore at Autographica in October 2008. He very kindly posed for a portrait for the photographic course I was taking at college. I had another chat to him the following day - and he invited me down to Farthings, his charming thatched house in Selsey! Dad and I went in November 2008 and stayed overnight with Patrick - the loveliest, most generous and most interesting man you could possibly wish to meet. I will remember that visit for the rest of my life!
Patrick Moore has presented every edition since, except for one in 2004 when food poisoning put him in hospital. This has given him a place in the Guinness Book of Records as the longest serving TV presenter. Until 2004
For a while, Patrick taught at a prep school in Tunbridge Wells after leaving the RAF but it was his overriding interest in astronomy, and writing, that eventually took over his life.
It is for his TV programme The Sky at Night that Patrick is best known. It was first broadcast on 2
During the 1960s and 70s, Patrick saw the Apollo programme at first hand, reporting on the various missions for the BBC. He has met all the astronauts including Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong, the first men to land on the Moon. oo
Patrick's 'girl' (as he fondly refers to his fiancee Lorna) was a nurse but was killed during a WW2 bombing raid - he has never forgiven Herr Hitler for that.
Einstein was also an expert violinist and, on that occasion, Patrick accompanied him on the piano, when they played 'The Swan' by Saint-Saens.
It was whilst on leave in New York during his flight training that he met flight pioneer Orville Wright and then, later, the scientist Albert Einstein.
Patrick was destined for Eton and Cambridge University (passing the neccessary exams with the help of a tutor) but during the early years of WW2, he joined the RAF. He was underage at the time, and not medically fit - as he takes great delight in relating! He served as a navigator in Bomber Command, rising to the rank
Patrick's other interest was music. He began playing the piano before he could talk - his mother could never drag him away from it! As an eight year old with perfect pitch and perfect time, he thought it silly not to be able to compose, so he bought a sixpenny book and taught himself how to do that as well! Aged
In 1967, Patrick bought 'Farthings' a large but tumbledown, thatched house in Selsey, Sussex. The house was renovated, and Patrick lived there with his mother, who died in 1981 at the ripe old age of 94
in 1975 in a book called Mrs Moore in Space for which Patrick wrote the foreword.
In the garden at Farthings Patrick has two observatories - the larger one housing a large wooden 15" Newtonian reflector telescope, the smaller one containing a 5" Cooke refractor telescope.
Over the years, Patrick has written more than 100 books, mostly on astronomy, and
His first success was Guide to the Moon, published around 1950, still in print after eight editions, but now called Patrick Moore on the Moon although, as he points out, he has never been there! Patrick very generously gave me a copy of this book, which he inscribed for me, when I visited him at Farthings.
Patrick is a great friend of the astrophysicist Dr Brian May (known to most as the guitarist in the rock band Queen) and they collaborated with Chris Lintott (Patrick's likely successor on The Sky at Night) to produce a superb book called Bang! The Complete History of the Universe, published in 2006.
Patrick's other interests included a passion for cricket (he was a somewhat 'unorthodox' leg spinner for Selsey CC until he was 77), chess (he plays to a good standard), and amateur dramatics (he specialised in playing demons in Selsey's Christmas pantomimes)!
Patrick has always been a 'cat person'. Down the years there have been Ginger, Ptolomy, Rufus, Smudgie, Beno and Bonnie.
Patrick has done so much during his long life and has so many fascinating stories to tell. Fortunately for us he wrote his autobiography (typed as always on his 1908 Woodstock) called 80 Not Out, full of anecdotes from the pen of a very witty and humourous raconteur!
During his illustrious lifetime, Patrick has received countless honours - many of the certificates are on the walls at Farthings.He was awarded the OBE in 1968 and the CBE twenty years later. In 2001, he received a knighthood, won a BAFTA for his services to television and was appointed as an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society. In July 2008 he received another Honorary Fellowship, this time from the University of Leicester.
Today, Patrick has another Ptolomy, and Jeannie, "the most adorable little thing I have ever come across". Jeannie has her own enclosed garden (with a fountain!) via a cat flap in the door from Patrick's music room. To enter Farthings you have to pass through the 'air lock' in the porch (close the outer door before opening the inner one to stop the cats getting out)! The notice in the porch leaves you in no doubt, "the house is maintained entirely for the convenience of the cat!"
Patrick aged three
9, he then discovered the
delights of the xylophone, and more self-tuition! His many compositions include marches, waltzes and piano music, some of which have been professionally recorded.
Patrick Moore has played the xylo-
phone since he was nine years old
of Flight Lieutenant. He is proud of his wartime service and whenever he wears a tie, it is invariably his RAF tie. During those early years he was always known as 'the Kid'!
Patrick Moore ('the Kid') aged 17
Patrick with RAF tie
his 1908 Woodstock typewriter bought he believes, for half a crown! Patrick has also written fiction, including six novels in a sc
all of them typed on
sci-fi series called Scott Saunders in Space.
After the war, Patrick constructed his home-made, twelve and a half inch reflecting telescope in his garden at East Grinstead, and began, seriously, to observe the Moon. The Moon's surface consists of craters, mountains and large, grey plains (called 'seas') filled with lava. Patrick set about mapping the lunar surface. In 1959, his charts of the moon were used by the Soviet Union to correlate their first pictures of the far side with his mapped features on the near side.
He also assisted NASA with lunar mapping in preparation for their
Apollo space programme. In 1969 a lunar map was published from his observational charts. Pat
Patrick has always prided ur' whose
himself on being an 'amateur' whose knowledge stems from his observations of space through his telescopes.
Patrick Moore with his home-made
nomy enthusiasts. It was transmitted 'live' from the BBC's Lime Grove Studios and was about the comet Arend-Roland, a very bright in the sky at that time.
6th April 1957, for astro-
Patrick Moore - presenter of The Sky at Night for more than fifty years!
the programme came from the BBC Studios in London, but since then, it has been recorded ea
each month at Patrick's Selsey home Farthings.
The globes are of the Moon and Mars, and are normally found on a table in the
corner of Patrick's dining room!
Sir Patrick Moore presents The Sky at Night from Farthings, his home in Selsey
Albert Einstein and Patrick Moore
He also met Yuri Gagarin who, in 1961, became the first man to travel in space.
94. On the walls at Farthings hang many of her delightful watercolours of friendly little aliens. These were published in
Patrick Moore with his
mother at Farthings
Mrs Moore in Space by Gertrude Moore
Two of Gertrude Moore's watercolours of friendly aliens!
Patrick's two observatories at Farthings
Sir Patrick Moore with his 15" reflector telescope. It is housed in the green observatory at Farthings
(left & above)
I am in Patrick's observatory with his
15" reflector telescope
Dr Brian May took this photo of Patrick
with his beloved cat Jeannie
Patrick the pantomime demon!
Patrick taking part in the Hastings
Patrick loved his games of cricket
Dr Brian May and Sir Patrick Moore
at the Chelsea Flower Show
Patrick was presented with his BAFTA award
in 2001 by Buzz Aldrin
Patrick receiving his Honorary Fellowship
from the University of Leicester
Patrick in his study at Farthings
Patrick posed for this photograph for me at Autographica. I replaced the background with a starry sky. I gave a framed copy to him, which he asked me to sign!!
Sir Patrick Moore
Sir Patrick Moore
My signed photo of Sir Patrick Moore
with his 1969 map of the Moon
Sir Patrick Moore (1923-2012)
Click on a name below to take you to that page
member. He was later to become its President.
Sir Alfred Patrick Caldwell-Moore (who prefers to be known just as Patrick) was born in 1923
1923, in Pinner, Middlesex, but grew up in East Grinstead in Sussex. His father, Charles, was a captain in the army and his mother, Gertrude was a trained singer and a gifted artist.
Patrick couldn't attend his prep school regularly due to a heart condition, but he used his boyhood years in a flurry of self-tuition! His mother gave him a copy of G.F.Chambers' book The Story of the Solar System (he still has the book) and this sparked his lifelong passion for astronomy. He joined the British Astronomical Association aged eleven - its youngest
Sir Patrick Moore has a cameo role in an episode of Doctor Who
(screened 3rd April 2010)
I was really saddened when I heard that Sir Patrick Moore had passed away on 9th December 2012. I was so lucky to have had the opportunity to stay with Patrick several times at Farthings, and it was a real privilege to have known such a wonderfully kind man.
I will always remember him with much respect and great affection.
One of the lovely moments I shared with Patrick was when
he showed me how to wear a monocle!!
Thank you for the wonderful memories, Patrick. R.I.P.