Dead Socialist Watch, #298

Charles Buxton, socialist politician and philanthropist. After classics at Cambridge and a period travelling, he was called to the bar in 1902, also serving as principal of Morley College for working men and women in south London. In 1904 he married Dorothy Frances Jebb; their lifestyle was sufficiently frugal that, according to the ODNB, “on weekend walking tours in the south of England they were sometimes mistaken for tramps in their old clothes”. On a mission in 1914 to try to persuade Bulgaria to enter the war on the allied side, he was shot through the lung by a Turkish would-be assassin. Formerly a Liberal, he joined the ILP in 1917, and attended the Socialist International’s conferences in 1919 and 1920, visiting Soviet Russia, about which he was enthusiastic, with a Labour Party delegation in 1920. A delegate to the League of Nations assembly in 1924 and 1930, he was also president of the British Esperantists. He was elected to Parliament on three occasions, but never served for long: Liberal MP for Ashburton in 1910, Labour MP for Accrington 1922-3, and for Elland, 1929-31. Born London 27 Novmber 1875; died at Peaslake in Surrey, 16 December 1942.

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