Early Life in England
Plimmer was born at a village called in contemporary accounts "Upton-under-Amon" near Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England on 28 June 1812, youngest but one of 12 children of Isaac Plimmer, builder and timber merchant, and his wife Mary (nee Roden). Identifiably the village is Upton Magna, which lies under Haughmond Hill, where he was baptised on 19 July that year. (Transcribed parish register has corresponding parents' names.)
Educated at a local parish school, he was intended for teaching but preferred to train as a plasterer and master builder. He practised the trades at Willenhall, Staffordshire from after his father moved there until his own emigration and it was at Birmingham in that area he first married in 1833.
Life in New Zealand
He arrived at Wellington from England on the ship Gertrude in 1841. As an entrepreneur in 1851 he purchased the stranded whaling ship Inconstant and converted the hull into a warehouse and one of the first piers in Wellington. It became known as "Plimmer's Ark", a centre of business in early Wellington, used as an auction house, customs office and lighthouse.
He was a member of the Wellington Provincial Council from 1856 to 1857, the first Wellington Town Board (1863) and was on the Wellington City Council from 1870 to 1871.
His principal public service was the organisation of the Wellington and Manawatu Railway Company between 1880 and 1886. The township (now a suburb) of Plimmerton, on the Wellington - Manawatu Line built by the company, was named after him.
There is a statue of him at the bottom of Plimmer Steps off Lambton Quay, Wellington.
The Plimmer Towers office complex is named after him.