The life of John Moore
John was born near Tewkesbury in 1907 and educated at Malvern. As he himself said, his half-hearted efforts in school and in business were always overshadowed by his keen love of nature study and his irrepressible passion for writing, encouraged by his school masters at ‘The Elms,’ Colwall.
A founder member of the Cheltenham Literary Festival, and for some years its chairman, many of John’s country books are set around Tewkesbury, where he lived for a major part of his life, and where he wrote the trilogy of books that were to establish him as a leading writer on the English countryside: Portrait of Elmbury, Brensham Village
, and The Blue Field
John Moore died in the summer of 1967, and a few days later Sir Compton Mackenzie wrote to The Times: “His death is a tragedy – for the English countryside. No writer in these days, when the English countryside is being slowly exterminated to gratify material progress, was able to preserve what life is left to it with the eloquent and accurate observation of John Moore. And now he is gone; gone with the Adonis blues and silver-washed fritillaries, gone with the brown squirrels and birds of once upon a time.”
Years ahead of his time, Moore crusaded against the threat to all kinds of wildlife and the dangers of the indiscriminate use of of lethal insecticides and sprays on the land. His books and novels are set in a world that has almost vanished and although written seventy years ago, have a timelessness that is difficult to define. The prose and wit of the author help but it is the people, lovingly portrayed as individuals, that make the books memorable. The farmers, tradesmen, craftsmen, odd-job men, the barmen and the rogues leave a lasting impression of an England that has gone but not been forgotten. And John Moore has never been forgotten in Tewkesbury, where The John Moore Countryside Museum
continues to explain both the man and the things he cared for, as does the John Moore Society, formed in 1988 and now with members all around the world.