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British Industrial History

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Harold Maxwell-Lefroy

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Harold Maxwell-Lefroy (20 January 1877 – 14 October 1925) MA, FEZ, FZS, an English entomologist.

1877 Born in Crondall, Hants[1], son of Charles Henry Maxwell Lefroy

Educated at Marlborough College

1895 King's College, Cambridge.

c1899 became the entomologist for the newly-created department of agriculture in the West Indies

He produced detailed accounts of the insect pests of sugar cane, and of thrips that attacked cacao trees.

1903 Arrived at Plymouth from Barbados[2]

1903 Went to Calcutta to take up an appointment as entomologist to the government of India.

Soon became connected with the Imperial Agricultural Research Institute at Pusa.

1904 Married Kathleen Hamilton O'Meara; they had one son, Cecil.

Spent 9 years working in India.

1911 Harold Maxwell Lefroy 34, worked for the Indian Agricultural Service, was living in Chelsea, married[3]

1912 Appointed Professor of Entomology at Imperial College London. He quickly became an active participant in London's scientific circles but he openly declared himself an applied scientist.

c1913 he became honorary curator of the insect house at the Zoological Gardens. At about the same time he was asked by Frank Baines, Principal Architect of the Office of Works, to study ways of exterminating death watch beetles that had been found in Westminster Hall. As a result, he went on to devise various successful formulations for pest control.

1915 Appointed Imperial silk specialist in Pusa

1917-8 Attended the Royal Commission on Wheat Supplies who sent him and R. A. Lowe to Australia to vanquish a large infestation of weevils in stored wheat in early 1918.

Lefroy began receiving regular orders from people who had heard about his work dealing with infestations of insects.

1924 Lefroy and his assistant Miss Elizabeth Eades started supplying bottles of woodworm fluid he called Ento-Kill from a small factory in Hatton Garden. Since a similar name had already been registered as a trade name, Lefroy instead renamed his insecticide Rentokil.

1925 He was overcome by a gas insecticide of his own invention while working at his laboratory at Imperial College and died.

1926 The Rentokil company was incorporated as a private company[4].

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. BMD
  2. Incoming Passenger Lists
  3. 1911 census
  4. .Companies House
  • Wikipedia
  • India Office List 1925
  • Biography of Harold Maxwell Lefroy, ODNB