The son of Colonel Alfred Gilbey and his wife Beatrice née Holland, he was educated at Westminster School. His father was a director of W & A Gilbey, wine and spirit merchants, co-founded by his grandfather and great uncle.
Gilbey was a keen sportsman and figure skater, winning the Amateur Figure Skating Championship at Alexandra Palace, London, in 1930 and 1931, and the International Ice Figure Skating Championship in St Moritz, Switzerland, in 1931. He continued his association with winter sports throughout his life as a member of the British Olympic Council and as chairman of the National Ice Skating Association from 1966 - 1976.
Following the war, he entered politics in London, as a member of the Conservative Party. He was a member of Westminster City Council from 1945 to 1948. At the 1950 general election he stood unsuccessfully for election to parliament at Greenwich. From 1952 - 1958 he represented Holborn and St Pancras South on the London County Council.
He resigned from the county council in 1958 to become chairman of W & A Gilbey, a post he held for eleven years. At the time Gilbey's was the largest wine and spirits company in the United Kingdom, and he oversaw its merger into International Distillers and Vintners.
Gilbey soon returned to local politics: serving as a member of St Pancras Borough Council from 1959-1962. In 1962 he was made a Commander of the British Empire for political and public services in London. He returned to local government for a third time in 1967 as a member of the Greater London Council representing Haringey until 1973.
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- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 "Obituary: Mr Ronald Gilbey". The Times: p. 16. 3 August 1977.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Darryl Lundy. Alfred Ronald Dashwood Gilbey. thepeerage.com A genealogical survey of the peerage of Britain as well as the royal families of Europe. Retrieved on 7 March 2012.
- ↑ Denis L. Bird. Skating. A Brief History of Ice and the National Ice Skating Association of Great Britain. National Ice Skating Association of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Retrieved on 7 March 2012.
- ↑ London Gazette: . 8 October 1940.
- ↑ Grosvenor Ward 1900-1965. Westminster City Council Election Results. Retrieved on 7 March 2012.
- ↑ Jackson, W Eric (1965). Achievement. A Short History of the London County Council. Longmans. p. 263.