Rupert Edward Cecil Lee Guinness


Dorothy Mary Guinness
Patricia Florence Susan Guinness
Brigid Katherine Rachel Guinness
Arthur Onslow Edward Guinness


Rupert Edward Cecil Lee Guinness NPG x23026

Educated Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge, Rupert won the Diamond Sculls at Henley Regatta 1895 and 1896. In 1900 he served in the Boer War with the Irish Hospital Corps.

Married Lady Gwendolen Florence Mary Onslow on 8 Oct 1903.  In Oct 1906, their first son Richard died at only 2 days old.

Unionist MP 1908-10 and 1912-27.

In 1927 he succeeded his father as, Earl of Iveagh and chairman of the family brewing business in Dublin and for thirty-five years directed its consolidation at home and its expansion abroad with the establishment of breweries in London and in Nigeria and Malaya. A keen agriculturist, he transformed the barren shooting estate at Elveden in Suffolk into a productive farm.

Rupert had by this time established his reputation as an able politician and enthusiastic supporter of science. Lord Iveagh had earlier persuaded his father to endow the Lister Institute of Preventive medicine and served on the governing board; he became interested in the Wright-Fleming Institute of microbiology. Rupert also helped form the Tuberculin Tested Milk Producers Association researching into the eradication of T.B. infected cattle. and was instrumental in establishing the National Institute for Research into Dairying, at Shinfield, Berkshire.

circa 1903

In 1927 several of the most able students came from the Chadacre Agricultural Institute, to assist in the transformation of the Elveden Estate and help him with his revolutionary ideas. The brightest was a 21 year old Victor Harrison, who arrived in 1933. Chadacre finally closed in 1989, but the Trust continues to this day, chaired by the present Lord Iveagh, its income is used to support agricultural research work.

Lord Iveagh realised the land had to be made more profitable and manure would be needed and therefore, in 1932 commenced to buy in dairy cattle, keeping only those which passed the TB Test. In 1927 there were 120 cows, by 1962 there were 715 plus 816 young stock. Lord and Lady Iveagh took a keen interest in their Dairy Herds and prepared a 'family tree', which was regularly up dated, for every animal in their possession.

He donated generous sums to Dublin hospitals and in 1939 presented to the Government his Dublin residence, Iveagh House (80 St Stephen's Green), now the Department of Foreign Affairs, and gave the gardens to UCD.

At the outbreak of war the Ministry of Agriculture instigated a ploughing-up campaign as part of the 'War Effort'. Lord Iveagh agreed to increase the arable acreage as requested. 600 acres were ploughed, 200 of which were Lucerne leys and the rest old lands which had been used for game and had gone out of cultivation. This proved discouraging, the crops failing to cover the expense of growing them. The following year Lord Iveagh was asked to plough another 1000 acres and agreed to make the attempt even though the previous efforts had proved unsuccessful. All had to be fenced against rabbits and the wire was difficult to obtain. 

The new ground yielded more crops than anticipated, but later the whole project was dealt a severe blow. The War Office announced its intention of using a large area of the estate as a tank training ground and despite the need for food production, many of the new crops were ruined, and fences torn down, allowing the ingress of rabbits which were more destructive than the tanks. After a great deal of damage had been done it was agreed to fence off small areas of the land for cultivation which were later harvested. The value of the ploughing-up experiment had been largely lost and an enormous amount of much needed food had gone to waste. Undeterred, Lord Iveagh obtained permission from the War Office to cultivate portions of the requisitioned lands which were hardly used and by the end of the war had regained much of the lost ground - which was successfully cropped. Leys had also been increased by another thousand acres. Some of the extra acreage had been obtained from old pasture land but most of it was gained from previously untouched heath.

His son, Arthur Onslow Edward, Viscount Elveden, was killed in action in Holland in 1945.

For several years the Forestry Commission had coveted parts of Elveden Estate for extending Thetford Forest, but Lord Iveagh's success with farming brought a settlement in his favour in 1952. 

It was during Rupert's management that the Guinness World Records started.  The brewery was always on the look-out for good promotional ideas to bring the Guinness name to the public’s attention. One of these ideas came about when Sir Hugh Beaver, then the managing director, went on a shooting party in 1951. He became involved in an argument about which was the fastest game bird in Europe, the golden plover or the grouse, and he realized that a book, published by Guinness, that supplied answers to this sort of question might prove popular. He was right!

Sir Hugh’s idea became reality when the McWhirter twins, Norris and Ross, who had been running a fact-finding agency in London, were commissioned to compile what became The Guinness Book of Records. The first edition was published in 1955 and went to the top of the British bestseller lists by Christmas that same year.

Since then Guinness World Records has become a household name and the book has sold more than 80 million copies in 77 different countries and 38 different languages. It has also prompted successful television shows around the world, and the launch of the website in the year 2000

Rupert served as chancellor of the University of Dublin 1927-63.

He retired from Guinness in 1962 in favour of his grandson, Lord Elveden and was elected FRS in March 1964 at ninety for his services to science and agriculture. Died in his sleep at his house in Woking, Surrey, 14 September 1967.


Rupert Edward Cecil Lee GUINNESS 4 SmartMatches
Birth: 29 Mar 1874
Sex: M
Father: Edward Cecil GUINNESS
Mother: Adelaide Maria GUINNESS

Changed: 4 Jun 2002 21:16:27

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Spouses & Children

Gwendolen Florence Mary ONSLOW Lady, MP (Wife)

Marriage: 8 Oct 1903
Arthur Onslow Edward GUINNESS
Honor Dorothy Mary GUINNESS
Patricia Florence Susan GUINNESS
Brigid Katherine Rachel GUINNESS Lady


Brigid Katharine Rachel Guinness 1 2 2 SmartMatches
Birth: 30 Jul 1920 in London 1 2
Death: 8 Mar 1995 in Patmore Hall, Albury, Herts, England 1 2
Sex: F
Father: Rupert Edward Cecil Lee Guinness
Mother: Gwendolen Florence Mary Onslow

Title (Facts Pg): Lady 1 2

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Spouses & Children

Friedrich Georg Wilhelm Christoph of Prussia (Husband)
1 2 1 2
Marriage: 30 JUL 1945 in Little Hadham, Hertfordshire
Location: Location in St. Cecilia's Church
Frederick Nicholas of Prussia
William Andrew of Prussia
Victoria Marina Cecilie Prussia
Rupert Alexander Frederick Prussia
Antonia Elizabeth Brigid Louise of Prussia

Anthony Patrick Ness (Husband)
1 2
Marriage: 3 JUN 1967 in Old Windsor, Berkshire, England


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This site was last updated 06/20/03