Councillor Robert Wilkinson, Mayor Of Newport 1904-5

Photo reference number: 1645

Photos and text from Johns's 1905 Newport Directory.

Councillor Robert Wilkinson, whose election to the Mayoral Chair was unanimous, was born at Appledore, North Devon, in 1851. He is the second son of the late Captain Wilkinson who commanded the ship 'Westward Ho,' trading between London and the East Indies for many years, in the days prior to steam navigation. Coming to Newport in 1867, Mr. Wilkinson served his apprenticeship with the firm of Messrs. Jones Bros. & Co., Shipbrokers. In 1872. he commenced business on his own account, and since 1881 he has been the sole proprietor of the firm of Rennie, Wilkinson & Co., Merchants & Shipbrokers. The business is an extensive one, and comprises a regular line of steamers from Newport to the River Plate and the East Indies. In 1892, the Mayor was returned to the Council as one of the members of the old South Ward, and has had a seat there uninterruptedly since, first as a Representative of that Ward and since the re-division of the Wards of the town
as a Representative of the Alexandra Ward. He has also been a member of the Harbour Commission for some years. The Mayor politically is a Conservative. Anything which savours of unnecessary extravagance has always had in him a determined and uncompromising opponent for he is one of those who maintain that the same principles which apply to their own private business should guide them in dealing with public affairs. He was a strong opponent of the Wentwood water scheme of the Corporation. The dredging scheme of the Harbour Commissioners he also opposed, as he was convinced from his own personal experience there never was any necessity for that work. The Mayor is one of the most popular men in the town, and it would be well were there more like him.

List of the Mayors of Newport