Dixon, Sir Arthur Lewis, CB, CBE

He was born at Swindon on 30 January 1881, the son of a WM minister Seth Dixon (1831-1896; e.m. 1855). He was educated at Kingswood School and Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, where he read Physics and Geology and was ninth wrangler in 1902. Geology and astronomy remained lifelong interests. Entering the civil service, he served at the Home Office from 1903 until his retirement in 1946 and as Principal Under-Secretry of State was the prime mover behind the establishment of forensic science laboratories. He was responsible for major reforms of both the police and the fire services and thanks to his preparatory work, including the design of the stirrup pump, the fire service was equipped in 1940 to tackle incendiary bombs and the effects of the London blitz. He received a knighthood in 1941 and was promoted to the rank of 'principle assistant under-secretary of state'. In 1947 it was officially recorded in Hansard that 'He has left an indelible mark on the history of the country and is very largely responsible for the standard of the present Police Service.'

He was for many years a governor of Kingswood School, and later the first lay chairman of the governors. A keen amateur astronomer and geologist, he gave the school the Observatory, complete with telescope, and (with Arthur Trump) the Geology Laboratory. He gave much support to the Methodist Church in which he had grown up and to the British and Foreign Bible Society. He was a prominent figure in the Methodist Laymen's Missionary Movement (later Methodists for World Mission). Among his varied interests was atomic energy, on which he published a book, Atomic Theory for the Layman in 1950. He was a teetotaler and non-smoker. He died at Bournemouth on 14 September 1969.


'Drastic with the incompetent; stony with a shirker; puritan yet open-eyed to the splendour of his universal home; a friend of inexhaustible riches; in entire humility Christ-centred; slow to approach, quick and warm in response; far-sighted; deep: he lived in eternity's sunrise.'

Kingswood School Magazine, January 1970, p.13

  • Times, 16 September 1969
  • Kingswood Magazine, January 1970, pp.8-13
  • F.B. Field, A Kingswood Assembly (1982)
  • Oxford DNB