Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Holden, Moses

HOLDEN, MOSES (1777–1864), astronomer, was born at Bolton, Lancashire, on 21 Nov. 1777. As a youth he worked in a foundry at Preston, until disabled by an accident. On his recovery he occupied himself first as a landscape gardener, then as a weaver. Early in life he possessed a strong love of astronomy, and he collected a library that was remarkable for one in his station. In 1814–15 he constructed a large orrery and an ingenious magic-lantern. These were made for the purpose of illustrating his astronomical lectures, which were first given in the Theatre Royal, Preston, in 1815, and afterwards in many towns in the north of England. In 1818 he published ‘A small Celestial Atlas, or Maps of the Visible Heavens, in the Latitude of Britain,’ 3rd edit. 1834, 4th edit. 1840. It was one of the earliest works of the kind published at a low price. He also compiled an almanac, published in 1835 and later. In 1826 he devoted the proceeds of one of his lectures to the erection of a monument in St. Michael's Church, Toxteth, Liverpool, to the memory of Jeremiah Horrocks the astronomer. He assisted in establishing the Preston Institution for the Diffusion of Knowledge, and in 1834 the freedom of the borough was conferred on him. He died at Preston on 3 June 1864, aged 86.

[Preston Guardian.]

C. W. S.