Lives of the fellows

Peter Howroyd Buxton

b.17 December 1918 d.27 March 1995
MA MB Bchir Cantab(1942) MRCS LRCP(1942) MRCP(1949) MD(1952) MRCPath(1963) FRCP(1972) FRCPath(1972)

Peter Buxton was born in Wimbledon, South London, and educated at Bradford College, Reading, before going up to the University of Cambridge. He undertook his clinical studies at the Middlesex Hospital and after qualification he was house physician at the hospital until 1943 when he joined the RAF and served as a medical officer until 1946.

After obtaining his membership of the College in 1949, Peter married Aline Kennedy, a staff nurse at the Middlesex Hospital, and they subsequently had five children. Tragically, within one year, they lost their son Ian in a car accident at the age of 25 and a daughter, Juliet aged 21, from a virus infection. They bore their loss with courage and dignity, well fortified by a strong philosophy of life and a deep religious faith.

On cessation of hostilities he returned to the Middlesex and worked as medical registrar and senior medical registrar until 1954. He was then senior neurological registrar at the same hospital. He was appointed Bland-Sutton Institute lecturer in pathology at the Middlesex from 1955 to 1958 and registrar at the Maida Vale Hospital for Nervous Diseases from 1958 to 1960. He was then appointed as the first consultant neuropathologist to the newly established department of medical and surgical neurology at Walton Hospital, Liverpool.

There was a well established department of neurosurgery at the Walton but at the time of Peter’s appointment the first consultant appointments in neuroradiology and neurology were also made and a specifically designed building planned. Peter played a major part in formulating these plans, especially for the neuropathology department, but prior to the opening of the new building in 1972 he had to make the best of working in very old and inadequate premises. He took his fair share of running the new department and served a term as chairman of the divisional committee. The new departments had to be built up from scratch, both as regards equipment and staff, and this Peter did very successfully. The door of his own laboratory was always left open and he was always ready with helpful and willing advice. He established a happy and efficient department which was later named the Buxton Laboratory in his honour. He had a special interest in diseases of muscle and performed any necessary muscle biopsies himself. He also wrote papers on the subject. He was a member and later president of the British Neuropathology Society and served a term as chairman of the North of England Neurological Association.

Apart from his family, Peter had two great pleasures in life. One was music. He learnt to play the piano and the organ at school and continued to play for the rest of his life - especially the piano. He and his wife, who also played the organ, regularly attended concerts of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. His other joy was gardening. He had a large garden and grew a wide variety of trees, shrubs and vegetables, and could often be found in his greenhouse. He was an enthusiastic supporter of the Liverpool University Botanic Gardens at Ness, near his home. He not only attended the lectures and functions but also found time each week to help with the upkeep of the gardens. He was a practical man who had the skill to completely rewire his house and he also had an interest in repairing clocks.

Peter Buxton was conscientious, dedicated to his work and a loyal colleague. He had a logical and calm personality and a great sense of humour. He loved children and they loved him, had many friends, was devoted to his wife and family, and left behind him many happy memories.

K H Slatter

(Volume X, page 53)

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