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Thomas Buxton, English social reformer

Thomas Buxton, English social reformer

C021/9115

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Credit

MARIA PLATT-EVANS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARIA PLATT-EVANS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Sir Thomas Foxwell Buxton (1786-1845), English politician and social reformer. Buxton was born at Castle Hedingham in Essex and privately educated. He started working at a brewery belonging to family friends in 1808, was made a partner in 1811 and eventually became sole owner. Although an Anglican by upbringing, he encountered the Gurney family, prominent Quakers, and became a supporter of many of their social causes. He raised money for the London weavers and for Elizabeth Fry's work on penal reform. In 1818 he became Member of Parliament (MP) for Weymouth and became a major figure campaining for the abolition of slavery and for an end to capital punishment. During his career, the num ber of capital offences on the statutes were reduced from over 200 to just eight. Buxton was also founding chairman of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, later the RSPCA.

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