Beilby Lawley : Great Mind

Beilby Lawley, 3rd Baron of Wenlock(1849-1912) was a British soldier and a liberal politician. He was the Governor of Madras from 1891 to 1896.

Wenlock was a popular governor and many hospitals in the Madras Presidency were named after him. He also laid the foundation stone of the present Madras High Court buildings.

His first task in the Nilgiris was to get the beleaguered Nilgiri Railway Company going and in August 1891 the governor cut the first sod of the line for what later became the Nilgiri Mountain Railway, a UNESCO Heritage Site.

Ootacamund and its precincts, particularly the vast grasslands immediately to its west, which were the sacred pasture lands of the indigenous people, have been used for hunting by British governors and officers from about the 1850s. In 1886, Governor Wenlock, the Prince of Sportsmen, declared the 30 square miles of grasslands a Forest Reserve to preserve them for posterity.  The Downs were aptly named Wenlock Downs in 1900 after the departure of the governor and a Committee was formed to ensure its preservation.  The Downs became the favourite recreational haunt of the Europeans.  Today it is a popular tourist destination. A road in the heart of the Ooty town was also named after Governor Wenlock.

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