Sydney Buxton, 1st Earl Buxton

Last updated

The Earl Buxton

Sydney Buxton, 1st Earl Buxton.jpg
2nd Governor-General of South Africa
In office
Monarch George V
Prime MinisterSouth African:
Louis Botha
Jan Smuts
H. H. Asquith
David Lloyd George
Preceded by The Viscount Gladstone
Succeeded by Prince Arthur of Connaught
President of the Board of Trade
In office
14 February 1910 11 February 1914
Monarch Edward VII
George V
Prime Minister H. H. Asquith
Preceded by Winston Churchill
Succeeded by John Burns
Postmaster General
In office
Monarch Edward VII
Preceded by The Lord Stanley
Succeeded by Herbert Samuel
Personal details
Born(1853-10-25)25 October 1853
London, England, UK
Died15 October 1934(1934-10-15) (aged 80)
Newtimber, West Sussex, England, UK
Political party Liberal
Spouse(s)Constance Mary Lubbock (1882–1892; her death); 3 children
Mildred Anne Smith (1896–1934; his death); 3 children
Alma mater Trinity College, Cambridge
ProfessionMember of Parliament
Sydney Buxton circa 1895 Sydney Buxton.jpg
Sydney Buxton circa 1895
Sydney Charles Buxton by Leslie Ward, 1907 Sydney Charles Buxton.png
Sydney Charles Buxton by Leslie Ward, 1907

Sydney Charles Buxton, 1st Earl Buxton, GCMG , PC (25 October 1853 – 15 October 1934) was a radical British Liberal politician of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. [1] [2]


Background and education

Buxton was the son of Charles Buxton [3] and grandson of social reformer Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton, 1st Baronet. His mother was Emily Mary, daughter of the physician and traveller Sir Henry Holland, 1st Baronet. He was born in London and educated at Clifton College and Trinity College, Cambridge, [4] and was a member of the London School Board from 1876 to 1882.

Political career

In 1880, Buxton became prominent in political circles by the publication of his Handbook to the Political Questions of the Day, a work which eventually went through 11 editions. That same year, he ran for Parliament for Boston, but lost. However, he became an MP in 1883 by winning a by-election in Peterborough. He was defeated in the 1885 general election, but returned to Parliament the very next year, representing Poplar. He would represent this constituency in Parliament until 1914. [1]

From 1892–95, Buxton served as Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies. In 1905, he earned his first Cabinet post, that of Postmaster-General. In this capacity he introduced such services as penny postage to the United States, the Canadian magazine post, and cheap postage for the blind. In 1910, Buxton was named President of the Board of Trade; in this position he oversaw the passage or amendment of many trade and commerce laws. Upon the sinking of the RMS Titanic in 1912, he asked Lord Loreburn, the Lord Chancellor, to appoint a commission of inquiry into the disaster. This commission eventually came to be headed by Lord Mersey. [1]

In February 1914, Buxton was appointed Governor-General of South Africa, and on 11 May of that year he was raised to the peerage as Viscount Buxton, of Newtimber in the County of Sussex. [5] A revolt by the South African populace on the outbreak of the First World War temporarily threatened his safety, but the country's Prime Minister, General Louis Botha, immediately attached South Africa to Britain. Thereafter, Buxton and Botha formed an effective partnership, planning and executing South African actions in the war, including the invasion of the neighbouring German colony of South West Africa. Buxton travelled widely throughout South Africa, and endeared himself to the people. Upon his retirement in 1920, the people demonstrated their affection for him. He continued his interest in South African affairs after returning to England, serving as president of the African Society from 1920–33.[ citation needed ]

He was created Earl Buxton on 8 November 1920, [6] and continued to be a member of the Liberal Party, often supporting his close friend and colleague Sir Edward Grey. In his later years, he had to undergo amputation of his leg due to a knee injury sustained earlier in his life.

He died at Newtimber on 15 October 1934. [1]


Buxton was twice married, firstly in 1882 to Constance Mary Lubbock (died 1892), second daughter of Lord Avebury, and secondly in 1896 to Mildred Anne Smith, elder daughter of Hugh Colin Smith, Governor of the Bank of England, of Mount Clare, Roehampton, a sister of the banker Vivian Smith and of Aubrey Smith, RN, who later became an admiral. [1]

By his first wife, he had two sons and one daughter, of whom the sons both died in his lifetime. By his second wife, he had one son and two daughters, of whom the son and the elder daughter died in his lifetime. [1]


By his first wife, Constance Mary Lubbock (d. 3 November 1892): [7]

By his second wife, Mildred Anne Smith DBE JP (1866–1955): [7]

Since all his sons died unmarried in his lifetime, his titles became extinct at his death. Earl Buxton was survived by his second wife Mildred (died 1955) and his youngest daughter Lady Althea Eliot (died 2004), and by eight grandchildren including the future Duke of Grafton (1919–2011).


Related Research Articles

Archibald Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery British politician

Archibald Philip Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery, 1st Earl of Midlothian,, was a British Liberal politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from March 1894 to June 1895. Between the death of his father, in 1851, and the death of his grandfather, the 4th Earl of Rosebery, in 1868 he was known by the courtesy title of Lord Dalmeny.

Earl of Hardwicke

Earl of Hardwicke is a title in the Peerage of Great Britain. It was created in 1754 for Philip Yorke, 1st Baron Hardwicke, Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain from 1737 to 1756. He had already been created Baron Hardwicke, of Hardwicke in the County of Gloucestershire, in 1733, and was made Viscount Royston at the same time as he was given the earldom. These titles were also in the Peerage of Great Britain. He was succeeded by his eldest son, the second Earl. He represented Reigate and Cambridgeshire in the House of Commons and served as Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire. Lord Hardwicke married Lady Jemima Campbell, only daughter of John Campbell, 3rd Earl of Breadalbane, and granddaughter and heiress of Henry Grey, 1st Duke of Kent, who succeeded her grandfather as Marchioness Grey in 1722. They had two daughters of whom the eldest, Lady Amabel, was created Countess De Grey in her own right in 1816.

Edward Granville Eliot, 3rd Earl of St Germans was a British politician and diplomat.

Hugh FitzRoy, 11th Duke of Grafton son of Charles FitzRoy, 10th Duke of Grafton

Hugh Denis Charles FitzRoy, 11th Duke of Grafton was the son of Charles FitzRoy, 10th Duke of Grafton, and his first wife Lady Doreen Maria Josepha Sydney Buxton, second daughter of Sydney Buxton, 1st Earl Buxton. He was known from 1936 to 1970 as the Earl of Euston.

John FitzRoy, 9th Duke of Grafton british duke

John Charles William Fitzroy, 9th Duke of Grafton, was a British peer and politician, styled The Honourable John FitzRoy from 1914 to 1918, Viscount Ipswich in 1918, and Earl of Euston from 1918 to 1930.

Charles FitzRoy, 10th Duke of Grafton British soldier, peer, and landowner

Charles Alfred Euston FitzRoy, 10th Duke of Grafton, known as Charles FitzRoy until 1936, was a British aristocrat, soldier, politician, and farmer.

Ann Fortune FitzRoy, Dowager Duchess of Grafton,, is the widow of Hugh FitzRoy, 11th Duke of Grafton. She has been Mistress of the Robes since 1967.

John Thomas Townshend, 2nd Viscount Sydney of St Leonards was a British peer and Member of Parliament.

Gilbert Talbot, 7th Earl of Shrewsbury English politician and Earl

Sir Gilbert Talbot, 7th Earl of Shrewsbury, 7th Earl of Waterford, 13th Baron Talbot, KG was a peer in the peerage of England. He also held the subsidiary titles of 16th Baron Strange of Blackmere and 12th Baron Furnivall.

Archibald Charles Montagu Brabazon Acheson, 5th Earl of Gosford MC KGStJ, styled Viscount Acheson until 1922, was a British peer.

Beilby Lawley, 2nd Baron Wenlock British Baron and politician

Beilby Richard Lawley, 2nd Baron Wenlock was an English nobleman, eldest son of Paul Thompson, 1st Baron Wenlock and 8th Baronet. He succeeded in the Barony and Baronetcy and to the family estate at Escrick, Yorkshire on the death of his father in 1852.

Vivian Hugh Smith, 1st Baron Bicester was a British merchant banker.

Francis Needham, 3rd Earl of Kilmorey British politician

Francis Charles Needham, 3rd Earl of Kilmorey, styled Viscount Newry from 1851 to 1880, was an Anglo-Irish peer and Conservative Member of Parliament.

Charles Howard, 10th Earl of Carlisle British soldier and Liberal Unionist politician

Charles James Stanley Howard, 10th Earl of Carlisle, DL, styled Viscount Morpeth from 1889 to 1911, was a British soldier, peer, and Liberal Unionist politician.

Herbert Gardner, 1st Baron Burghclere British politician

Herbert Colstoun Gardner, 1st Baron Burghclere, was a British Liberal politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1885 until he was raised to the peerage in 1895. He served as President of the Board of Agriculture between 1892 and 1895.

Walter William Brabazon Ponsonby, 7th Earl of Bessborough, was a British peer and member of the House of Lords. He was the fifth son of John Ponsonby, 4th Earl of Bessborough, and his wife Lady Maria Fane. He inherited the earldom on 11 March 1895 when his elder brother Frederick Ponsonby, 6th Earl of Bessborough, died unmarried and without a male heir.

Mildred Anne Buxton, Countess of Buxton was a British social activist and philanthropist.

Henry John Adeane DL was an English barrister and politician.

Peter Charles Eliot MBE TD was an English Anglican priest who served as Archdeacon of Worcester from 1961 to 1975.

Hugh Colin Smith Governor of the Bank of England

Hugh Colin Smith was an English banker who was Governor of the Bank of England from 1897–99.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Earl 0f Buxton, 80, Is Dead In England. Liberal Was Member of Last Gladstone Government and Long in Parliament. Held South African Post. As Governor, Dealt With Revolt of Boers. Introduced Penny Post for United States". New York Times . 16 October 1934.
  2. Profile,; accessed 8 April 2016.
  3. "Clifton College Register" Muirhead, J.A.O. p19: Bristol; J.W Arrowsmith for Old Cliftonian Society; April, 1948
  4. "Buxton, Sydney (BKSN872SC)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  5. "No. 28830". The London Gazette . 12 May 1914. p. 3835.
  6. "No. 32122". The London Gazette (Supplement). 12 November 1920. pp. 10979–10980.
  7. 1 2 Mosley, Charles, ed. (2003). Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knighthood (107 ed.). Burke's Peerage & Gentry. p. 622. ISBN   0-9711966-2-1.
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Hampden Whalley
John Wentworth-FitzWilliam
Member of Parliament for Peterborough
With: Hon. John Wentworth-FitzWilliam
Succeeded by
John Wentworth-FitzWilliam
Preceded by
Henry Green
Member of Parliament for Poplar
Succeeded by
Alfred Yeo
Political offices
Preceded by
Baron Henry de Worms
Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies
Succeeded by
The Earl of Selborne
Preceded by
Lord Stanley
Postmaster General
Succeeded by
Herbert Samuel
Preceded by
Winston Churchill
President of the Board of Trade
Succeeded by
John Burns
Preceded by
The Viscount Gladstone
Governor-General of South Africa
Succeeded by
Prince Arthur of Connaught
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Earl Buxton
New creation Viscount Buxton