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

Buxton was the son of Charles Buxton 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 Londonmarker and educated at Clifton Collegemarker and Trinity College, Cambridgemarker, and was a member of the London School Board from 1876 to 1882. In 1880, he 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 Parliamentmarker in the constituency of Boston, but lost. However, he became an MP in 1883 by winning a by-election in Peterboroughmarker. 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.

From 1892 to 1895, 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 Statesmarker, the Canadianmarker 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 Titanicmarker 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.

In February 1914, Buxton was appointed Governor-General of South Africa, and in May of that year he was raised to the peerage as Viscount Buxton, of Newtimber in the County of Sussex. 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 Germanmarker 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 even after returning to England, serving as president of the Africa Society from 1920 to 1933.

He was created Earl Buxton in 1920, 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 Newtimbermarker on October 15, 1934.


Buxton was twice married, firstly in 1882 to Hon. Constance Mary Lubbock (d. 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.

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.


By his first wife Hon. Constance Mary Lubbock (d. 3 November 1892):

1. Charles Sydney Buxton (26 May 1884–31 August 1911); died unmarried.

2. Kenneth Sydney Buxton (4 September 1886–27 August 1894); died in childhood, aged seven.

3. Lady Phyllis Sydney Buxton (17 April 1888–27 January 1942), later Lady Phyllis Ponsonby OBE; married 23 September 1918 Rev. Canon Maurice George Jesser Ponsonby, MC, DL, JP (13 October 1851–15 October 1939), a grandson of the 2nd Baron De Mauley, had 5 children, of which two (Elizabeth and Mary) have descendants

By his second wife Mildred Anne Smith (d. 7 December 1955):

4. Lady Doreen Maria Josepha Sydney Buxton (29 November 1897–28 July 1923), a fraternal twin; married 24 January 1918 married Charles Alfred Euston Fitzroy, a scion of the dukes of Grafton. She died aged 25, shortly after the birth of her third child. After her death, her husband remarried in 1924 and again in 1944. He succeeded to the dukedom in 1936 when a young cousin, the 9th Duke of Grafton was killed in a motoring race. Lady Doreen's elder son is the present Duke of Grafton.

5. Hon. Denis Bertram Sydney Buxton (29 November 1897–9 October 1917), a fraternal twin; killed in action, aged 19, Passchendaelemarker, France, as a Second Lieutenant in the Coldstream Guards. At the time of his death, he was his father's only surviving son and heir to his titles.

6. Lady Alethea Constance Dorothy Sydney Buxton (2 August 1910–25 July 2004); married Venerable Peter Charles Eliot, TD, MBE (30 October 1910–1995), son of Hon. Edward Granville Eliot (himself grandson of the 3rd Earl of St. Germans) and Clare Louise Phelips, on 12 July 1934. They had no issue, and Lady Alethea died aged 93 in 2004.

Since both his surviving sons died unmarried in his lifetime, his titles became extinct at his death.

Earl Buxton was survived by his second wife Mildred (d. 1955) and his youngest daughter Lady Althea Eliot (d. 2004), and by eight grandchildren including the future Duke of Grafton (b. 1919).


  1. Darryl Landy, Earl Buxton's biography, extracted in part from the Dictionary of National Biography[1]. Retrieved 10 August 2007
  2. Darryl Landy. "Sir Sydney Charles Buxton, 1st and last Earl of Buxton", article in database. Last edited 13 May 2007. Retrieved 9 August 2007.[2]
  3. The elder son Charles Sydney Buxton (1884-1911), the only surviving son by his first wife Constance, proposed marriage to Octavia Wilberforce (1888-1963), a descendant of the reformer, but she refused him. [3].
  4. His second wife Lucy Eleanor Barnes (d. 1943) was a first cousin of his first wife through her Buxton mother.[4]
  5. Darryl Landy. Entry for "Venerable Peter Charles Eliot" in database. Last edited 19 June 2006. [5]. Her husband was maternal uncle of the actress Jane Asher.
  6. Michael Rhodes. "Earl Buxton family update" message posted on discussion forum on 10 August 2004. Retrieved 10 August 2007. Michael Rhodes says incorrectly that Lady Alethea was Earl Buxton's only daughter by his second wife; she was his only surviving daughter but his younger daughter by that wife. The elder Lady Doreen had died in his lifetime.

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