Peter Moore, author of The Sunday Times bestseller The Weather Experiment, has been presented with the Mary Soames Award for History at a prestigious ceremony in London Wednesday 13 June. The award was created as a gift to Lady Soames, Sir Winston Churchill’s youngest daughter, to mark her 90th birthday, in 2012, and is given in recognition of achievement in history.
Peter was one of 130 people being honoured at the ceremony to mark the successful completion of their overseas research as Churchill Fellows. Churchill Fellows are funded to travel for 4-8 weeks overseas, researching new ideas that can make a difference to their communities or professions in the UK.
For his Fellowship, Peter travelled to Australia and New Zealand in 2016 to research the story of HM Bark Endeavour. Endeavour famously carried James Cook on his first great voyage, visiting Pacific islands unknown to European geography, charting New Zealand for the first time and the eastern coast of Australia and almost foundering on the Great Barrier Reef.
Peter’s research in Australia and New Zealand informed his forthcoming book, ‘Endeavour: The Ship and the Attitude that Changed the World’, which will be published in the UK on 23 August 2018 (Chatto & Windus) and in the USA (Farrar, Straus & Giroux) shortly afterwards.
Speaking about his Fellowship, Peter said, “It is easy to think that Endeavour’s story belongs firmly in the past. It’s now 250 years since James Cook, Joseph Banks and ninety or so others set out from Plymouth in a tiny coal collier bound for the far side of the world. But the effects of what happened then are still very much being felt today. Being a Churchill Fellow allowed me to follow the story as best I could: meeting academics in Wellington and Canberra and talking to knowledge custodians of indigenous communities on the New South Wales coast and the Bay of Islands.”
“It was an incredibly enriching experience and I’d urge others wanting to travel to broaden their understanding of a subject to apply for a Churchill Fellowship too.”
Lady Soames, Sir Winston Churchill’s last surviving daughter, died in May 2014. She was an author herself, producing biographies of both her parents and a memoir, A Daughter’s Tale: The Memoir of Winston and Clementine Churchill’s Youngest Child.
The Fellowships were set up in memory of Sir Winston Churchill on his death in 1965, and over 5,400 Fellowships have been awarded since then. Anyone can apply, regardless of age, qualifications or background. Applications are now open until 18 September 2018, for travel in 2019, at www.wcmt.org.uk.
Each of the 130 Churchill Fellows honoured at the ceremony were presented with a medallion by distinguished photojournalist Nick Danziger, whose career began with a Churchill Fellowship that took him across Central Asia in 1982. The ceremony was held at Church House, Westminster, which was Winston Churchill’s temporary office during World War Two.