S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science




Claxton, Mr Thomas Folkes (meteorology)

Born: 29 April 1874, London, United Kingdom.
Died: 12 July 1952, Place not known.

Thomas F. Claxton was an English astronomer and Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. He worked at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, from 1890 to 1893. In 1895 he was appointed assistant director of the Royal Alfred Observatory, Mauritius, and the next year became director of the observatory. During his stay of some 17 years on the island he annually published Magnetic and meteorological observations, Mauritius from 1896 to 1910, and Seismological observations in 1910. He was honorary secretary of the board of directors of the Mauritius Institute and Museum from 1903 to 1911, and honorary secretary of the Mauritius Meteorological Society from 1896 to 1911. In 1900 he wrote a brief article on the society's history, which was published in its Transactions. The scientific papers that he published in the same Transactions dealt mainly with meteorological topics and included "The drought of 1896 September, October and November" (1900); "Registration of bright sunshine at the Royal Alfred Observatory, Mauritius" (1900); "The recent sunsets and sky-glows" (1901), which related the gorgeous sunsets at Mauritius during June to August 1901 to the dust from a volcanic eruption on Java; and "Climate of Pamplemouses, in the island of Mauritius" (Report, International Geographical Congress, Washington, 1904). Several other papers by him, published in British journals, dealt with topics such as a magnetic disturbance, cyclone, seismological events, meteors, and thunderstorms at the Royal Albert Observatory.

Claxton and his colleague A. Walter*, also from the Royal Alfred Observatory, visited Cape Town in 1906. On 31 October that year Claxton read a paper, "Note on the connection between the rainfall at Durban and Mauritius", before the South African Philosophical Society. It included tables of the frequency of droughts, and was published in the society's Transactions (Vol. 16, pp. 437-442).

Claxton was director of the Royal Observatory, Hong-Kong, from 1912 to 1932. His publications during this period included The climate of Hong Kong (1916) and The climate of Hong Kong, 1884-1929 (1933). Until 1932 he was a member of three International Commissions, namely those for the Exploration of the Upper Air, for Maritime Meteorology, and for Terrestrial Magnetism.


List of sources:
Debus, A.G. (Ed.) World who's who in science. Chicago: Marquis, 1968.

South African Philosophical Society. Transactions, 1905-1907, Vol. 16.

National Union Catalogue, pre-1956 imprints. London: Mansell, 1968-1980.

Royal Society of London. Catalogue of scientific papers [1800-1900]. London: Royal Society, 1867-1925.

Venter, R.J. Bibliography of regional meteorological literature. Vol. 1. Southern Africa 1486-1948. Pretoria: Weather Bureau, 1949.

Who was who, Vol. 5 (2nd ed.) London: Adam & Black, 1964.


Compiled by: C. Plug


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