Family and education
Born in London on Lord Mayor's Day, as it then was, on 9 November 1925, Robin Gillett was the only child of Captain Sir Harold Gillett, 1st Baronet MC FCA, who was Lord Mayor of London, 1958-59. He was educated at Pangbourne 1939-43, and Hill Crest School. He married in 1950, Elizabeth Marion Grace (died 1997), the elder daughter of John Findlay, JP, of Busby House, Lanarks. Two children Nicholas (born 1955) and Christopher (the singer, born 1958).
After the Nautical College he went to sea as a cadet with Canadian Pacific Steamships Ltd with which he served on North Atlantic, Mediterranean and Russian convoys. He remained with Canadian Pacific until after the war obtaining his Master Mariner's Certificate in 1951. In 1950 he joined the Royal Naval Reserve.
From 1953 he served for a year in the Persian Gulf in the frigate HMS Flamingo doing RNR training and in 1957 became the youngest Staff Commander of the Canadian Pacific flagship the Empress of Scotland, a rank he held until he left the sea in August 1960 having been recruited while serving in the Empress of Britain.
Lloyd's and the City
On leaving the sea he joined the Lloyd's broking firm of Bevington, Vaizey and Foster and after training commenced as Administration Manager there.
On 29 September 1976 he was elected as Lord Mayor of London and on 12 November he entered the Mansion House. Unfortunately his father had died eight days before he was elected. Of the 648 Lord Mayors that preceded him, only six had actually succeeded their fathers in a direct line and not one had succeeded in becoming Lord Mayor during his father's lifetime. There followed a very hectic year at the Mansion House, the crowning event of which was the Silver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. At the end of the mayoralty, Gillett returned to his then home in Knightsbridge and back to his firm after a rest period.
- Elder Brother of Trinity House
- Fellow and Founder Member, Nautical Institute City of London (Ward of Bassishaw): Common Councilman 1965–69
- Alderman 1969–96
- Sheriff 1973
- One of HM Lieuts for City of London, 1975
- Chairman Civil Defence Committee, 1967–68
- President, City of London Civil Defence Instructors Association, 1967–78
- Vice-President, City of London Centre, St John Ambulance Association
- President, National Waterways Transport Association, 1979–83
- Dep. Commonwealth President, Royal Life Saving Society, 1981–96
- Chairman Council, Maritime Volunteer Service, 1998–2000, Governor, 2000–
- Vice-Chairman, PLA, 1979–84
- Master, Honourable Company of Master Mariners, 1979–80
- Trustee, National Maritime Museum, 1982–92
- Chairman of Governors, Pangbourne College, 1978–92
- Chancellor, City University, 1976–77
- FIAM (Pres., 1980–84; Gold Medal, 1982)
- FRCM 1991. Hon. DSc City, 1976.
- Gentleman Usher of the Purple Rod, Order of the British Empire, 1985–2000
- Gold Medal, Administrative Management Soc., USA, 1983
- Denmark : Commander, Order of Dannebrog, 1974
- Malaysia : Johan Setia Mahkota (Companion of the Order of Loyalty to the Crown of Malaysia - JSM), 1974
- Peru : Grand Cross of Municipal Merit (Lima), 1977
- United Kingdom : KStJ 1977 (OStJ 1974)
- Zaire : Officer, National Order of the Leopard, Zaire, 1973
Author: A Fish out of Water 2001. Dogwatch Doggerel 2004.
|Baronetage of the United Kingdom|
(of Bassishaw Ward)
Nicholas Danvers Penrose Gillett
Sir Lindsay Ring
|Lord Mayor of London
Sir Peter Vanneck