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Edward Guinness, 1st Earl of Iveagh

Edward Guinness, 1st Earl of Iveagh Irish philanthropist and businessman

Irish philanthropist and businessman
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro Irish philanthropist and businessman
A.K.A. Earl of Iveagh Edward Cecil Guinness, Edward Cecil, 1st Earl of Iveagh Guinness, Edward Cecil Guinness, Earl of Iveagh, Edward, 1st Earl of Iveagh Guinness
Was Politician
From Ireland
Type Politics
Gender male
Birth 10 November 1847, Dublin
Death 7 October 1927, London (aged 79 years)
Family
Father: Benjamin Guinness
Children: Walter Guinness1st Baron Moyne
The details
Biography

Edward Cecil Guinness, 1st Earl of Iveagh KP GCVO FRS (10 November 1847 – 7 October 1927) was an Irish philanthropist and businessman.

Public life

Born in Clontarf, Dublin, Guinness was the third son of Sir Benjamin Guinness, 1st Baronet, and younger brother of Arthur Guinness, 1st Baron Ardilaun. Educated at Trinity College Dublin, graduating with BA in 1870, he served as Sheriff of Dublin in 1876, and nine years later became the city's High Sheriff. That same year, he was created a baronet of Castleknock, County Dublin, for helping with the visit of the then Prince of Wales to Ireland. In 1891, Guinness was created Baron Iveagh, of Iveagh in County Down. He was appointed a Knight of St Patrick in 1895, and ten years later was advanced in the Peerage of the United Kingdom to Viscount Iveagh. Elected to the Royal Society in 1906, he was two years later elected nineteenth Chancellor of Dublin University in 1908–27, he served as a vice-president of the Royal Dublin Society from 1906–27. In 1910 he was appointed GCVO. In 1919, he was created Earl of Iveagh and Viscount Elveden, of Elveden in the County of Suffolk.

Business

Lord Iveagh was chief executive of the Guinness partnership and company, from his father's death in 1868 until 1889. He subsequently became the chairman of the board for life, running the largest brewery in the world on 64 acres (26 ha). By the age of 29 he had taken over sole ownership of the Dublin brewery after buying out the half-share of his older brother Lord Ardilaun for £600,000 in 1876.

Over the next 10 years, Edward Cecil brought unprecedented success to St James's Gate, multiplying the value of his brewery enormously. By 1879 he was brewing 565,000 hogsheads of stout. 7 years later, in 1886, he was selling 635,000 hogsheads in Ireland, 212,000 in Britain, and 60,000 elsewhere, a total of 907,000 hogsheads.

He then become the richest man in Ireland after floating two-thirds of the company in 1886 on the London Stock Exchange for £6,000,000 before retiring a multi-millionaire at the age of 40. He remained chairman of the new public company Guinness, and was its largest shareholder, retaining about 35% of the stock. The amount can be compared to the 1886 GDP of the UK, which was £116m.

By 1914 the brewery's output had doubled again from the 1886 level, to 1,877,000 hogsheads.

Public housing

Like his father and brother, Lord Iveagh was a generous philanthropist and contributed almost £1 million to slum clearance and housing projects, among other causes. In London this was the 'Guinness Trust', founded in 1890. Most of his aesthetic and philanthropic legacy to Dublin is still intact. The Dublin branch of the Guinness Trust became the Iveagh Trust in 1903, by a private Act of Parliament, which funded the largest area of urban renewal in Edwardian Dublin, and still provides over 10% of the social housing in central Dublin. In 1908 he gave the large back garden of his house at 80 Stephens Green in central Dublin, known as the "Iveagh Gardens", to the new University College Dublin, which is now a public park. Previously he had bought and cleared some slums on the north side of St Patrick's Cathedral and in 1901 he created the public gardens known as "St. Patrick's Park". In nearby Francis Street he built the Iveagh Market to enable street traders to sell produce out of the rain.

Iveagh was portrayed as "Guinness Trust" in a "Spy" Cartoon in July 1891.

Medical and scientific research

Iveagh also donated £250,000 to the Lister Institute in 1898, the first medical research charity in the United Kingdom (to be modelled on the Pasteur Institute, studying infectious diseases). In 1908, he co-funded the Radium Institute in London. He also sponsored new physics and botany buildings at Dublin University in 1903, and part-funded the students' residence at Trinity Hall, Dartry, in 1908.

Iveagh helped finance the British Antarctic Expedition (1907–09) and Mount Iveagh, a mountain in the Supporters Range in Antarctica, is named for him.

Art collector

Interested in fine art all his life, from the 1870s Edward Cecil amassed a distinguished collection of Old Master paintings, antique furniture and historic textiles. In the late 1880s he was a client of Joe Duveen buying screens and furniture; Duveen realised that he was spending much more on fine art at Agnews, and refocused his own business on art sales. He later recalled Edward Cecil as a: "stocky gentleman with a marked Irish brogue".

While he was furnishing his London home at Hyde Park Corner, after he had retired, he began building his art collection in earnest. Much of his collection of paintings was donated to the nation after his death in 1927 and is housed at the Iveagh Bequest at Kenwood, Hampstead, north London. While this lays claim to much of his collection of paintings, it is Farmleigh that best displays his taste in architecture as well as his tastes in antique furniture and textiles.

Iveagh was also a patron of, then current artists such as the English school portrait painter Henry Keyworth Raine

Political life

Iveagh's father had sat as a Conservative MP for Dublin in the 1860s, as did his brother Arthur in the 1870s. Iveagh limited his involvement to acting as High Sheriff of County Dublin in 1885, mindful of the growing movement towards Irish Home Rule in the 1880s and the growth of the electorate under the 1884 Act. He did however stand as a Conservative for the seat of Dublin St Stephen's Green in the 1885 general election, losing to the Irish Parliamentary Party candidate.

Given his wealth he preferred to effect social improvements himself, and preferred a seat in the House of Lords, which he achieved in 1891. He supported the Irish Unionist Alliance. In 1913 he refused to lock out his workforce during the Dublin Lockout. In 1917–18 he took part in the ill-fated Irish Convention that attempted find a moderate solution to the Irish nationalists' demands. Though opposed to Sinn Féin, he had a personal friendship with W.T. Cosgrave who emerged as the first leader of the Irish Free State in 1922.

Sporting interests

On land, Iveagh's favourite hobby was to drive a coach-and-four (horses), a very physical activity, occasionally driving from Dublin to the Punchestown Racecourse about 20 miles away, and back. He also was a keen yachtsman, and in 1897 he won a race between England and Kiel that was sponsored by Kaiser Wilhelm. A member of several clubs including the Royal St. George Yacht Club, his main boat was the 204-ton schooner "Cetonia" which he bought in 1880, making frequent appearances at Cowes Week until 1914.

Record estate

After his death in 1927 at Grosvenor Place, London, Iveagh was buried at Elveden, Suffolk. His estate was assessed for probate at £13.5 million, which remained a British record until the death of Sir John Ellerman in 1933. Although probate was sought in Britain, a part of the death duties was paid to the new Irish Free State. His will bequeathed Kenwood House in Hampstead to the nation as a museum for his art collection, known as the "Iveagh Bequest".

In 1936 his family installed the "Iveagh Window" in his memory, in the North Transept of St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin. The window was designed and made by Sir Frank Brangwyn.

In 1939 Iveagh's sons gave his Dublin home, Iveagh House, to the Irish Free State. Since then it has been the home of the Department of Foreign Affairs, and "Iveagh House" has become the metonym of the Department.

Family

In 1873, Iveagh married his third cousin Adelaide Guinness, nicknamed "Dodo" (1844–1916). She was descended from the banking line of Guinnesses, and was the daughter of Richard S. Guinness (1797–1857), barrister and MP, and his wife Katherine (1808–81), a daughter of Sir Charles Jenkinson.

Adelaide's most famous portrait was painted c1885 by George Elgar Hicks.

They had 3 sons:

  • Rupert Guinness, 2nd Earl of Iveagh (1874–1967)
  • The Hon. Arthur Ernest Guinness (1876–1949)
  • Walter Guinness, 1st Baron Moyne (1880–1944)

Arms

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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