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WALTER

FOX.

M B . W. FOX, Superintendent of the Botanic Garden and Forests in Penang, has a record of 27 years' service in the islands of Singapore and Penang. He is therefore with one exception the oldest Kewite in the Colonial and Indian Services, Mr. R. Pantling, of the Government Cinchona Plantations, Mungpoo, antedating Mr. Fox by two years. Although Singapore is not one of the very unhealthy colonies, it is one that must be very trying to the constitution of a Britisher, and we attribute Mr. Fox's escape from that " most subtle ubiquitous and deadly foe to man," Malaria, to his equability of temper and to his having led a steady active life. Singapore is one of the great ports of the world, a place of call for the traveller, and among its attractions the extensive, rich and beautifully planned botanic garden stands first. Here Mr. Fox was Curator for 25 years, enjoying the respect and friendship of the resident officials and many others in the island. In 1903 he succeeded Mr. Curtis in Penang, whom he describes as " one of the ablest men that ever had charge of a botanic garden," and who was forced to retire from service by ill health. Mr. Fox is secretary of the Agri-Horticultural Society of Penang, an influential organisation in the formation of which he took a prominent part. Mr. Fox was born near Liverpool in 1858 and was trained in private sardens and nurseries until 1876, when he entered Kew. Here he served about three years, having as co-workers such distinguished Kewites as Messrs. W. Golclring, Lynch, J . F. Wilke, Drost, Leighton, Rolfe, Seeligmuller, Sim, etc. H e studied in the evenings at the Birkbeck Institute and the Science and A r t Classes held at Richmond. In 1879 he was appointed Curator of the Singapore Gardens under the late Mr. H. J. Murton, with whom, and afterwards with the late Mr. N. Cantley, he worked enthusiastically at the organisation of the botanical and forestry departments which are now of the greatest value to the Straits Settlements. Mr. Fox is a good all-round man. Keen on his work, a plantsman to his finger tips, he is also alive to politics and religion. When in England he loves to " hear sermons," and samples most of the good preachers with all the ardour of a searcher after the truth. He enjoys listening to long political discourses, and on occasion will attempt one himself. A sportsman too, he plays excellent tennis, cricket, and golf, being quite as good as Mr. Balfour at the last-named game. W.W.

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Profile for Kew Guild Journal

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