Paxton, Sir Joseph (1803-65), architect and horticulturist, was born of humble parentage at Milton Bryant, near Woburn, Bedfordshire. He entered the service of the Duke of Devonshire as gardener, and was eventually placed in charge of the gardens at Chatswocth, which he laid out with much skill on an entirely new plan. His experience in the construction of buildings of glass and iron enabled him to design the Crystal Palace, the primary purpose of which was to hold the Great Exhibition of 1851. It was subsequently removed to Sydenham and reconstructed, under Paxton's superintendence, as a place of popular entertainment. Paxton was Liberal member for Coventry from 1854 to 1865.