Patrick Alfred Buxton was born 1892, and educated at Trinity College, Cambridge. While he was at Cambridge, the physiologist Walter Fletcher encouraged Buxton’s studies in the Natural Sciences Tripos. During the Great War he qualified in medicine at St George’s, and then spent his time in the Royal Army Medical Corps collecting insects in Mesopotamia and Persia. During the 1920s he gradually equipped himself for his future role as an eminent medical entomologist, working in Cambridge, London and abroad. From 1923-1925 he led an expedition to Samoa, New Hebrides and the Western Pacific Islands.
In 1925 Buxton succeeded Col A. Alcock as Director of the Department of Entomology in the new London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and became the Professor of Entomology in London University in 1933. With V. B. Wigglesworth he built up the study and teaching of insect physiology and medical entomology in the School. His studies of lice (The louse, 1939,1947) involved students, friends and family members as incubators and have become legendary.
Buxton did invaluable work on insecticides leading to the control of typhus in the war in Italy and elsewhere. Buxton wrote papers on many other zoological subjects and has several species of birds to his credit. He was elected a member of the Medical Research Council, President of the Royal Entomological Society and of the Linnean Society. In addition, he was a member of many other learned bodies. At the time of his death in 1955, he had had the longest service of any member of the active staff of the School.
The Patrick Buxton Memorial Medal and Prize, which was founded in his memory is awarded to the best student of the year in Medical Parasitology.
The Buxton collection at the LSHTM archives includes research notes, correspondence, maps, diaries and papers relating to his employment as Head of Entomology.
The diaries in this collection are fascinating, with one written to take inventory of bird eggs found throughout the UK and the other diary is of his voyage to Greece in 1911. His voyage to Greece provides an interesting perspective on his travels. A memorable quote, seen below mentions the Temple of Apollo and he describes it as such: ‘…Early + rather dull Doric.’
If interested in learning more of Buxton, his work and archive or any other archival queries, please contact the archives at firstname.lastname@example.org