Sir Thomas Gilmour Jenkins


1894 - 1981

Sir Gilmour Jenkins, KCB, KBE, MC, lived at Goldhanger House in the 1950s and 60s, and was a senior civil servant who reached the level of Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Transport from 1947 until his retirement in 1959. The photograph above was taken in the late 1940s. He preferred to be known as “Sir Gilmour Jenkins”, but was born “Thomas Gilmour Jenkins” in Neath, Glamorgan in 1894, and was educated at Rutlish School, South Wimbledon. He joined the civil service in the Exchequer and Audit Department in 1913. He married Evelyne Mary Nash (1892-1976) and they had a son and daughter.

In the First World War he was commissioned in the Royal Garrison Artillery and was awarded the Military Cross and bar in 1918. On demobilization he joined the Board of Trade. At the outbreak of the Second World War the Ministry of Shipping took over the shipping divisions of the Board of Trade, and he became Second Secretary and was involved in shipping policy, ensuring that shipping was available for essential imports. He was made a CB in 1941, and KBE in 1944, taking the Title of Sir Gilmour Jenkins.

In 1946 he was promoted to Permanent Secretary, and in 1947 joined the Foreign Office. In the same year he returned to the Ministry of Transport as Permanent Secretary. In 1948 he was made a KCB. He remained as Permanent Secretary of the restyled Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation until he retired from the Civil Service in 1959. He was the Permanent Secretary at the time of the de Havilland DH Comets crashes in 1953 and 1954. On one of these occasions he was hosting a dinner at Goldhanger House when he received a phone call urgently recalling him to London to supervise the Ministry's investigation.

On retirement he published a book entitled: The Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation (ISBN: 0043540090 - images below).

He was President of the Institute of Marine Engineers in 1953-54 and of the Institute of Transport in 1954-55. In 1960 he chaired the International Conference on Safety of Life at Sea, and in 1962 over an international conference on the prevention of oil pollution of the sea.

His main interest outside work was undoubtedly music and he was an accomplished baritone. From conducting several Civil Service choirs he established a place in the musical world, and became a close friend of the composer Ralph Vaughan Williams with whom he frequently stayed in London during the week, returning to Goldhanger at the weekends. In 1953 he was best man at Ralph Vaughan Williams London wedding and sung Pilate in the Dorking performance of Bach's St. John Passion.

Sir Gilmour Jenkins played a major role in Making Musicians, a study and report published in 1965 by a committee of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation which he chaired. The report resulted in the Inner London Education Authority introducing a specialist music course at the Pimlico School, and many other music courses in university music departments and schools followed. The report also recommended the creation of repertory opera companies outside London in regional centres and many have been formed since 1965.

In 1967 he was appointed vice-president and an honorary fellow of the Royal Academy of Music and then its chairman, and was also a member of the London Philharmonic Orchestra council. It was said that his appearance and manner were distinguished, but he was always approachable and friendly. He died at Wadhurst, Sussex in 1981.

An obituary of Sir Gilmour was published in The Times and there is an entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biographies (66858), both of which have been used for the compilation of this webpage.

Sir Gilmore Jenkins, his wife Evelyne and the Rector

at the opening of the Church Bazaar in 1967

Sir Gilmore Jenkins as Chairman of

the Royal Academy of Music in 1972



 with Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother

 visiting the RAM Library in 1967

a poster from 1954



From... Who's Who in the Motor Industry, 1953 edition:

JENKINS, Sir Thomas Gilmour, K.C.B., K.B.E., M.C.

Born 18th July, 1894

Educated at Rutlish School and London University

Served during 1914 war, with R.G.A. (M.C. and Bar)

Joined staff of Board of Trade, 1919

became Assistant Secretary, 1934

Principal Assistant Secretary, Board of Trade, 1937

Second Secretary, Ministry of Shipping, 1939

Deputy Director-General, Ministry of War Transport, 1941-6

Permanent Secretary, Control Office for Germany and Austria, 1946-7

Joint Permanent Under Secretary of State, Foreign Office, 1947

Permanent Secretary to Ministry of Transport 1947

Member of Council, Institute of Transport

Decorations:  Grand Officer, Order of Orange, Nassau;

                    Commander, with Star, Order of St. Olaf;

                    Commander, Order of the Crown, Belgium.

Recreation:    Music. Club: Union

Address:       Goldhanger House, Goldhanger, Maldon, Essex

Telephone:    Goldhanger 214



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