A unique collection of objects, manuscripts and memorabilia from the archive of TV astronomer Patrick Moore has been acquired by the Science Museum.
Patrick, who presented the BBC’s The Sky at Night for more than half a century, died two years ago today.
Since 1968, he had lived and worked at Farthings, his home in Selsey, West Sussex, where he built up an extensive personal archive.
The objects and written material acquired by the Science Museum illustrate Moore’s years of work as an amateur astronomer and his success in bringing astronomy to a wider audience.
Included in the collection are draft scripts and memorabilia from The Sky At Night, which still holds the record as the longest running television series with the same original presenter.
The archive also contains about 70 of Moore’s observation books, featuring detailed drawings and records of the night skies spanning more than 60 years, as well as manuscripts for astronomy and fiction books.
Among the objects acquired by the Science Museum is a 12.5 inch reflecting telescope which Moore nicknamed Oscar and used for mapping the Moon.
Queen guitarist and astrophysicist Dr Brian May, who was a close friend of Moore, said: “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.
“We’re thrilled that the Science Museum has now agreed to give this precious resource a home. 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.”
Alison Boyle, deputy keeper of Science & Medicine at the Science Museum, said: “Patrick Moore was a towering figure in astronomy and broadcasting during a remarkable career spanning most of the 20th century. 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 material will be kept at the Science Museum Library & Archives at Wroughton, Wiltshire. Once catalogued, it will be available to the public for research purposes.