Richard Bartle has pointed out a number of errors in this section. Many apologies. Having taught and written about MOOs for so many years it's embarrassing to see that some of the things I have taken for granted for a long time turn out to be inaccurate. He writes:
It's PARC, not Parc ("Palo Alto Research Centre").
It (LambdaMOO) was written from the first MOO code, not MUD code.
The first MOO was written by Stephen White.
Roy first developed MUD in 1978.
It was the University of Essex, not the University of Reading.
Richard himself was involved in the development of MUD1, which I knew nothing about.
Intriguingly, he writes that the first gender-bending player in any virtual world went by the name of Sue Thomas. He sent me this link which details the whole story. Intriguing!
update: he also sent me these links featuring my predecessor: