Leslie Rowsell Moore

Professor L. R. Moore
L. R. Moore spent a relatively short time as a member of staff of the Department of Geology at University of Bristol, occupying a senior lectureship during the academic year 1948-1949, before becoming head of department at Sheffield. However, this brief sojourn marked a return to the university where he had studied for both his BSc and PhD; it also gave him the opportunity to collect a DSc, awarded on the basis of his published papers.

Born in Midsomer Norton in 1912, the son of a Somerset coal miner, Moore won a Miners' Welfare Scholarship to study at the University of Bristol. After achieving a 1st class honours degree in Geology in 1934, he remained at Bristol to carry out research under Prof. A. E. Trueman, whose specialities were Carboniferous stratigraphy and coalfield geology. Moore's thesis, on the structure, stratigraphy and economic geology of the Bristol and Somerset Coalfields, earned him a PhD in 1936 and formed the basis of a major publication (Moore and Trueman, 1937). It was at this time that Moore started to appreciate the potential of fossil faunal and floral evidence for regional correlation of the Coal Measures.

Although he took a teaching post in Suffolk immediately after his graduation, he soon returned to academia as an assistant lecturer in geology at Cardiff, where he was able to extend his researches to the South Wales coalfield and to begin his studies on fossil miospores extracted from the fruiting bodies of Coal Measures plants. He suggested that the wide range of morphological variation of the miospores represented stages of developmental maturity, observing that similar trends could be seen in the fruiting bodies from different plant groups. The significance of these studies for the emerging science of palynology was recognised by the award of the Geological Society's Lyell Fund in 1947. It was also accompanied by a rapid rise through the academic hierarchy: he moved briefly to progressively more senior positions at University of Glasgow, and then the University of Bristol, before accepting the invitation to become the Sorby Professor of Geology at the University of Sheffield in 1949.

Moore remained at Sheffield until his retirement in 1977, overseeing the expansion of his department and establishing a school of research in micropalaeontology and palynology, as well as carrying a heavy teaching load. He was also actively involved in the organisation of geological science in the UK: he recommended the establishment of the Micropalaeonotological Society, and became its first president; played a major role in the establishment of the Association of Teachers of Geology; and was a strong supporter of the Palaeontological Association. He died in November 2003, at the age of 91.

The details and photo in this brief biography were taken largely from an obituary published in Palaeontology Newsletter, 55 (for 2004) - the newsletter of the of the Palaeontological Association.


MOORE, L.R. and TRUEMAN, A.E. 1937. The Coal Measures of Bristol and Somerset. Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society of London, 93, 195–240.

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