John Moore: An Appreciation by Adrian Morley
John Moore was borne in 1918 a few months before the end of the Ist World war. His father, an civil engineer came from Middlesbrough. John spent his teens in Gosforth. He entered the Dental school in Newcastle when the intake was eight students per year, located in the Handyside Arcade just off the Haymarket. He subsequently trained in the New Dental School on the RVI site and photographed the visit of King George VI to open the new Medical School, (now Department of Agriculture) in 1938. Johns first dental practice was in Stanwix (Carlisle) from where he joined the RAF at the outbreak of war, and learned to fly a Tiger Moth. He was then shipped out to India where he spent the war as an itinerant Dentist.
John bought his ML7 shortly after the end of World War II. He seems to have initially been interested in making tools and hot air engines. He developed his skill as a self taught designer and engineer without any formal training. He had a long association with the Newcastle Dental School and a particular friend Harry Oliver, a technician in the department of Dental Pathology. In the early days of television he developed an elaborate system for the transmission of images from microscope slides to a series of TV screens about a teaching laboratory combined with TV cameras for macroscopic specimens. Possibly through this connection he was asked by the department of experimental neurology to develop cameras for the detection of fluorescent microscopic images, and was part author of a paper on this topic.
John was an early and active member of TSMEE, The Tyneside Society of model and experimental engineers. He joined Ken Swan’s class at Wallsend Polytechnic. It was during the 1980s that I first made his acquaintance when he arranged the purchase of my ML Super 7 following the death of his friend Dr. Kamagasunderam, an ocular surgeon from the NGH. John Moore introduced me to the world of model engineering with visits to Mike Lax and Wilf. Johnson’s workshops. On a visit to the London Model Engineering exhibition we stayed with his sister in Stevenage. At any exhibition John would purchase equipment after meticulous study and then modify it as its imperfections became apparent . John loved to talk to his friends on the telephone, which could turn into something of a marathon. During the next decade I had almost weekly seminars from him. In 1990 he was one of the founder members of Beamish Model Engineers Group.
John made innumerable jigs and improvements for his ML 7, usually deep in swarf. He built several hot air engines, a 3 ½” gauge steam loco (Gypsy), and two Krokodiles ( 5” and 7¼”). The larger engine was designed for the rack railway at Beamish. He made the majority of points at Beamish, as well as a complex token apparatus to regulate the rack system. He also designed a test rig to visualise the events in locomotive smoke boxes and to measure the pressure changes. Test of this rig filled his kitchen with steam and local flooding. This was published in “Model Engineer”.
John Moore had an exceptionally enquiring mind, ranging far from the immediate interests of model engineers. He confessed to having found Steven Hawking “A brief History of Time” hard going. He mastered all practical aspects of photography both black and white and colour. In addition he took finely composed photographs particularly of Scotland and the Lake District, and kept meticulously arranged Albums. He loved the Yorkshire dales and was a share holder of the North York’s Moor Railway to which he made an annual pilgrimage with his friend Eve Hunter until his final illness. John loved travel, particularly on railways about which he was extremely knowledgeable. In his early 70s he took exception to my suggestion that he might be getting on for skiing. He toured Canada by rail with Eve.
John remained vigorous well into his 90th year having survived a close encounter with cancer in his 70,s which required several operations. He was amazingly stoical and with Eve’s care made a complete recovery. He fought the onset of memory loss with great courage reminiscing about his early life and entertaining his friends to railway video evenings enlivened by occasional glasses of Madeira. Following a fall he was hospitalized, and thereafter needed care in a nursing home. He died on Monday 28th February 2011.This kind and gentle man will be greatly missed by all his friends
The above is a personal view with inevitable omissions and inaccuracies. I would welcome corrections or additions