Guilford Lindsey Molesworth K.C.I.E.

  • Guilford Lindsey Molesworth K.C.I.E.

Sir Guilford Molesworth was an English Civil Engineer who arrived in Ceylon in 1859. In 1862 he was appointed the first Chief Engineer of the newly established government railways in Ceylon, and the first track, 54 kilometers from Colombo to Ambepussa, was completed in 1864. With servicing the coffee (and soon tea) industry as a primary objective for establishing the railways in Ceylon, steady progress was made with lines eventually reaching the prime tea growing areas of Kandy, Nawalapitiya, Nanu Oya, Bandarawela and Badulla. Molesworth ended his career with the railway department as its Director General.  


Sir Guilford Molesworth (1828–1925) was born in Millbrook, Hampshire and was the son of John Edward Nassau Molesworth, Vicar of Rochdale who was a great grandson of Robert Molesworth, 1st Viscount Molesworth.  He initially practised as a Civil Engineer in London but went to Ceylon in 1859.  

Sir Guildford's great niece was Margaret Patricia Molesworth (1904–1985), the grandmother of Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh.  The Duchess’s grandmother - Margaret Molesworth - knew well her famous great-uncle; he was still publishing books about Free Trade, the British Empire  and Metrical Tables  into the 1920s which she studied as a school girl.

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