Peter Skidmore was born in Manchester in 1936, but moved to Dog Hill on the edge of Crompton Moor, near Shaw, in 1939. In these semi-rural surroundings he quickly developed an interest in natural history, and later wrote a paper on the moor (Skidmore 1964). It was a seminal publication, marking the beginning of Peter's major research into both cow dung ecology and, as a dipterist, the biology of the Muscidae (q.v.). Peter joined the Oldham Natural History Society in 1947 and the Manchester Entomological Society c.1950. At Christmas 1951, his sister Mary gave him Colyer & Hammond's Flies of the British Isles in Warne's 'Wayside and Woodland Series'. Peter described this as "the touch-paper to ignite an entomological career'' (Skidmore 1996d), with his first steps in studying Diptera guided by Leonard Kidd of Werneth Park Museum, Oldham. Peter’s other main entomological interest lay with Coleoptera.