A short cul-de-sac in an industrial subdivision in Westown honours New Plymouth's longest serving mayor.  Everard Robert Cranston Gilmour was born in Raglan in 1878. The family moved to New Plymouth when he was nine and he attended West End, Fitzroy and Central primary schools.   

Gilmour began work at the office of the estate agent Mr P. Corkill before setting up a business on his own account in 1905. His marriage to Alice Teed in 1906 at St. Mary's Church was described in elegant detail in the local newspaper. Their son Fred Cranston (known as Cran and later a prominent local auctioneer) was born in 1907. Sadly, Alice died from complications associated with a duodenal ulcer on 23 July 1915. Gilmour then married Sylvia Valetta Penwarden in 1917, and their daughter Sylvia Peace was born on Armistice Day 1918. More misfortune was to strike when his second wife died in 1927, aged 42. In 1938 he married for the third time, to Violet Mary Birch. 

It is for his record of public service that he is most remembered. His first foray into public life was election to the Central School Committee in 1897. However, being just 19, he was forced to resign when it was discovered that a minor could not hold office. He was to more than make up for this early setback.  

Gilmour served on the Taranaki Hospital Board from 1917 until his retirement in 1956. He was also chief magistrate for many years as well as chairman of the New Plymouth Patriotic Committee from its inception during World War One. 

After two unsuccessful attempts, Gilmour was elected mayor in 1933. The popular mayor led the city for 20 years until he was defeated by Mr E.O.E. Hill in 1953. He did not have to go far to congratulate the new mayor – Mr Hill was his next door neighbour. 

Gilmour died on 29 October 1958, aged 80, after a lifetime of outstanding public service.

This story was originally published in the Taranaki Daily News.

Please do not reproduce these images without permission from Puke Ariki. 
Contact us for more information or you can order images online here.