George Armitstead (mayor)

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George Armitstead
4th Mayor of Riga
In office
May 7, 1901 – November 17, 1912
Preceded by Ludvig Willhelm Kerkovius
Succeeded by Willhelm Robert von Bulmerink
Personal details
Born (1847-10-27)October 27, 1847
Riga, Russian Empire (today  Latvia)
Died November 17, 1912(1912-11-17)
Riga, Russian Empire (today  Latvia)

George Armitstead (Latvian: Georgs Armitsteds, October 27, 1847 – November 17, 1912) was an engineer, entrepreneur and the fourth Mayor of Riga.


George Armitstead was born in Riga, Latvia (then: Russian Empire) into a British merchant family; his uncle was George Armitstead, 1st Baron Armitstead.

In 1869, Armitstead graduated from the Riga Polytechnical Institute with excellence, and was one of the founders of the Fraternitas Baltica fraternity. He improved his knowledge at the Zurich and Oxford universities. Later, Armitstead worked as an engineer in Russia. After working in Russia, he came back to Riga, where his family owned many properties and factories, and became a significant social figure of the city life.

In May 7, 1901, the Riga City Council elected Armitstead to be the Mayor of Riga. He transformed Riga rapidly: he built many of today's buildings in Riga, 13 schools, 3 hospitals, the National Museum, the Zoo, libraries and cafés. Industry and commerce developed significantly. During the period when he was mayor, Riga turned from a small city into a major European city.

Emperor Nicholas II of Russia appreciated Armitstead's work and titled him a Laird of Russian Empire,[citation needed] while offering him to become the Mayor of St Petersburg, but Armitstead refused.


The statue of George and Cecile Armitstead

In 1912 Armitstead fell ill. On October 29 the Riga City Council awarded him Honorary Citizenship. George Armitstead died on November 17, 1912. Today, Armitstead is remembered as one of the most honorable people of Riga.

In 2006, during her first visit to Latvia, Queen Elizabeth II unveiled a memorial statue of George Armitstead,[1] with his wife and dog. The monument is in the gardens close to the Latvian National Opera. There is also a plaque in his memory on Mārstaļu street 19, Riga.