John Woodburn (civil servant)

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Sir John Woodburn KCSI (13 July 1843 – 21 November 1902) was an Indian Civil Servant, who later served as Lieutenant Governor of Bengal from 1898 to 1902.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

He was born at Barrackpore in British India to David Woodburn. After early education at Arya Academy in Bengal, he went to England to study at Glasgow University and Edinburgh University.[1][2]


He joined the Indian Civil Service in 1863 and arrived in India. He served on various positions in North West Frontier Province, Oudh, Central Province and other posts in Central Government. He served as Chief Commissioner of the Central Provinces from 1893 to 1895.[1][3] In 1892, he was appointed a CSI and was knighted with the KCSI in 1897.[1] He was member of Governor-General's Legislative Council for years 1891 and 1893 and was a member of Supreme Council - 1895-97. In April 1898, he was selected the successor of Sir Charles Stevens to the post of the Lieutenant Governor of Bengal, which position he retained till his death on 21 November 1902.[1][4][5] He served as President of The Asiatic Society for years 1900-01.[6]

Statue of Sir John Woodburn, which earlier stood at Dalhousie Square, Calcutta. Image of 1905.


He died after a short illness at Calcutta. He died on 21 November 1902 and was buried at Circular Road Cemetery of Calcutta.

He was succeeded by Sir Andrew Fraser as next Governor of Bengal.


Woodbrun's published works include his memoirs Sir John Woodburn, K.C.S.I., Lieut.-Governor of Bengal from 1898 to 1902: a Biographical Retrospect by Sir John Woodburn (K.C.S.I.), Jessy J. Matheson. published in 1926.[4]


  • A bronze statue of him was unveiled in 1905, which earlier stood at Dalhouse Square of Kolkata - has now been shifted to Victoria Memeorial.
  • A street in Kolkata was named after him, as Woodburn Street in Kolkata.
  • A park is named as Woodburn Park after him and road was earlier known as Woodburn Park Road also at Kolkata.
  • Woodburn Ward of SSKM Hospital, Kolkata is also named after him, where at present special patients like VVIP, VIP are treated.
Preceded by
Charles Stevens
Lieutenant-governor of Bengal
Succeeded by
A. H. L. Fraser


  1. ^ a b c d e Dictionary of Indian Biography By C. E. Buckland. 1999. p. 460.
  2. ^ Memories of the old college of Glasgow: Some chapters in the ... - Volume 2 by David Murray - 1927 - Page 578
  3. ^ Statues of the Raj by Mary Ann Steggles, British Association for Cemeteries in South Asia, 2000 - Page 221
  4. ^ a b Sir John Woodburn, K.C.S.I., Lieut.-Governor of Bengal from 1898 to 1902: a Biographical Retrospect by Sir John Woodburn (K.C.S.I.), Jessy J. Matheson. 1926
  5. ^ Notes and Queries: For Readers and Writers, Collectors and Librarians, Oxford University Press, 1913 - Page 206.
  6. ^ Asiatic Society - List of Presidents