Henry Guinness

Henry Seymour Guinness (24 November 1858 – 4 April 1945) was an Irish engineer, banker and politician.

Henry Guinness
In office
High Sheriff of County Dublin
In office
Preceded bySir George Brooke, 1st Baronet
Succeeded byJames William Henry Claud Cusack
Personal details
Henry Seymour Guinness

(1858-11-24)24 November 1858
Burton Hall, Stillorgan, County Dublin
Died4 April 1945(1945-04-04) (aged 86)
Mary Bainbridge
(m. 1900)
RelationsSee Guinness family
Children4, including Judy Guinness
EducationWinchester College
Alma materRoyal Indian Engineering College

Early lifeEdit

Guinness was born at Burton Hall, Stillorgan, County Dublin, the family home, on 24 November 1858. He was a son of Emelina (née Brown) Guinness and Henry Guinness (1829–1893), Esq. J.P., who had been the Dublin manager of the Guinness Mahon bank. His sister, Lucy Madeleine Guinness, married Philip de László, the Anglo-Hungarian painter known particularly for his portraits of royal and aristocratic personages.[1]

His paternal grandfather was Robert Rundell Guinness, founder of the Guinness Mahon bank, and his maternal grandfather was James Brown, Esq. of Edinburgh.[2]

He was educated at Winchester College and then the Royal Indian Engineering College.[2]


Guinness worked as an engineer in the Indian Public Works in 1880–95. He served as a lieutenant in the Burma State Railway Volunteer Rifles in the Third Anglo-Burmese War. Back in Ireland he was a director of the Great Northern Railway in 1902–24, director of the Bank of Ireland, and assistant managing director at Guinness in 1924–30.[3]

Public lifeEdit

He was appointed High Sheriff of County Dublin in 1899. A supporter of the Irish Unionist Alliance until 1921, he was chosen to represent the Irish business world as a Senator in the Senate of Southern Ireland, which failed to function.[4]

During the Irish War of Independence Guinness arranged for the Sinn Féin led Dublin Corporation to be funded by the Bank of Ireland, as rates due from the Local Government Board had been withheld in 1920. W. T. Cosgrave chaired the British-run Local Government Board finance committee for Dublin, while being at the same time the Minister for Local Government of the Irish Republic. In 1951 he recalled that "I went to the Bank of Ireland and there interviewed two of the Directors, H.S. Guinness and Andrew Jameson. They eventually gave the accommodation so urgently required for the Corporation. It was for this reason that when President of the Executive Council at a later stage, I nominated these two gentlemen as Senators."[5]

Guinness was nominated as an independent member of the first Irish Senate of the new Irish Free State for 12 years at the 1922 election.[6][7] He supported measures such as a regular financial system and also the proposal by W. B. Yeats for the local translation of ancient Irish manuscripts.[8] He did not seek re-election in 1934.

In 1953, he published The Guinness Family, written along with Brian Guinness, along with a number of essays and short books on the history of the Guinness family.[9] The originals and supporting notes are at the National Library of Ireland.[10]

Personal lifeEdit

In 1900, he was married to Mary Bainbridge (1871–1954), the second daughter of Robert Stagg Bainbridge, Esq. of Keverstone, County Durham.[2] Together, Mary and Henry were the parents of four children, including:[11][12]

  • Moira Emelina Guinness (b. 1902), who married Capt. Arthur Lafone Frank Hills, OBE, in 1923.[13]
  • Rachel Ursula Isolde Guinness (b. 1906), who married Prince John Bryant Digby de Mahé,[13] the only son of Prince Charles Digby Mahé de Chenal de la Bourdonnais, in 1931.[14][15]
  • Patricia Guinness (1909–2002), who married Frederick Charles Leopold Ullstein, a descendant of publisher Leopold Ullstein.[16]
  • Heather Seymour "Judy" Guinness (1910–1952), an Olympic medalist fencer who married twice.[17]

He lived at Burton Hall, Stillorgan, for many years. In March 1923, during the Irish Civil War, the anti-Treaty republicans tried to burn it down, albeit without success.[18]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "The de Laszlo Archive Trust". delaszloarchivetrust.com.
  2. ^ a b c Walford, Edward (1860). The county families of the United Kingdom; or, Royal manual of the titled and untitled aristocracy of England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. Dalcassian Publishing Company. p. 586. Retrieved 4 March 2020.
  3. ^ Profile, thepeerage.com; accessed 18 January 2016.
  4. ^ Notes on the SSI
  5. ^ Liam Cosgrave, File BMH.WS0268, Bureau of Military History, published 2003; online 2012
  6. ^ "Henry Guinness". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 28 February 2009.
  7. ^ Nomination mentioned on 6 December 1922, oireachtas.ie.
  8. ^ Senate debate on Irish manuscripts, April 1923 Archived 2011-06-09 at the Wayback Machine, oireachtas-debates.gov.ie.
  9. ^ "The Guinness Family. by Guinness, Henry Seymour & Guinness, Brian: (1953) | Owl Books". www.abebooks.co.uk. Lund Humphries & Co Ltd. Retrieved 4 March 2020.
  10. ^ Guinness, Henry Seymour. The Guinness family / compiled by Henry Seymour Guinness and Brian Guinness; arranged by M. Galwey. catalogue.nli.ie. National Library of Ireland. Retrieved 4 March 2020.
  11. ^ Fox-Davies, Arthur Charles (1910). Armorial Families: A Directory of Gentlemen of Coat-armour. T.C. & E.C. Jack. p. 707. Retrieved 4 March 2020.
  12. ^ Debrett's Peerage, Baronetage, Knightage, and Companionage. Kelly's Directories. 1916. p. 56. Retrieved 4 March 2020.
  13. ^ a b Debrett's Peerage and Titles of Courtesy. Dean & Son. 1933. p. 60. Retrieved 4 March 2020.
  14. ^ Cambridge, University of (1976). Cambridge University List of Members. Cambridge University Press. p. 599. Retrieved 4 March 2020.
  15. ^ "Major H H The Prince de MAHE Royal Field Artillery". discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk. The National Archives (United Kingdom). Retrieved 4 March 2020.
  16. ^ Robson, Jeremy (2018). Under Cover: A Poet's Life in Publishing. Biteback Publishing. p. 93. ISBN 978-1-78590-418-9. Retrieved 4 March 2020.
  17. ^ "The 10 most sporting gestures", The Guardian, 29 March 2009
  18. ^ Freeman's Journal, 28 March 1923

External linksEdit