BIRDWOOD, George Christopher Molesworth. Belgaum, India 8.12.1832 — Ealing, London 28.6.1917. Sir. British Physician and Botanist in India interested in Science and in Colonial History. Son of General Christopher B. (1807–1882) of Indian Army. The family came from Plymouth, and he was educated at Plymouth Grammar School, at Dollar Academy, and at Edinburgh University (M.D.). In 1854 he entered Bombay Medical Service, served in Persian War 1856-57, and then in Bombay. For a time Professor of Anatomy and Physiology, and of Materia Medica and Botany at Grant Medical College, also Curator of the Government Central Museum, Registrar of the University and one of the founders of the Victoria and Albert Museum. Returning to England on account of ill-health, he joined the staff of the India Office, served 1878-99 as Special Assistant in the Revenue and Statistical Department. Retired after two extensions in 1899. C.S.I. 1877, K.C.I.E. 1877, LL.D. Cambridge 1886. For many years organized the Indian section in international exhibitions, but like many in this time, despised Indian art.
Publications: Catalogue of the Vegetable Products of the Presidency of Bombay. 2nd ed. 45+459 p. Bombay 1865; Economic Vegetable Products of the Bombay Presidency. 12th ed. 1868; The Industrial Arts of India. 1-2. L. 1880 and many editions; papers on frankincense, in the Enc. Brit. i.al. article on incense; futher publications on botany.
– “On Ajanta cave paintings”, Athenaeum 1881, and other short notes.
– Report on the Old records of the India Office. 311 p. L. 1890; edited with W. Foster: First Letter Book of the East India Company, 1600-19. 34+530 p. L. 1895.
Sources: Buckland, Dictionary; several sources in Br. Biogr. Arch., 2nd series; *V. Chirol, Oxford D.N.B. 2004; Wikipedia with photo; *V.V. Gupchuk, Sir George Birdwood: the promoter of goodwill between East and West. Mumbai 2014.
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