Sir William McAlpine, 6th Baronet
|Sir William Hepburn McAlpine|
1 December 1936 |
Dorchester Hotel, London, UK
|Spouse(s)||Jill Benton Jones 1959-2003 (deceased)
Lady Judith McAlpine 2004-
|Children||Andrew William McAlpine
Lucinda Mary Jane McAlpine
Born in London in 1936 at the family-owned Dorchester Hotel, he was raised at the family home in Surrey. Alistair McAlpine, Baron McAlpine of West Green is his younger brother, as is David McAlpine. His father was Robert Edwin McAlpine, Baron McAlpine of Moffat, and his mother was Ella Mary Gardner Garnett. His great grandfather was "Concrete Bob", Robert McAlpine, the first of the McAlpine baronets and the founder of the construction company.
Educated at Charterhouse School, he left to join the family firm. After World War II was a busy time for construction, with McAlpine starting his career at Hayes Depot, Middlesex, a 30-acre (120,000 m2) site which housed the McAlpine's railway locomotive and wagon fleet.
He inherited the baronetcy in 1990 on the death of his father. He is patron of the Clan MacAlpine Society. He served as High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire for 1999. He is a director and trustee of the educational charity Shiplake Court Limited.
He is also the president of the Railway Benevolent Institution, known as Railway Benefit Fund, a charity helping current and retired railway industry workers.
Fawley Hill Railway
An acknowledged railway enthusiast, he returned to Hayes depot during the Beeching Axe to find that the company's Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0ST No.31 was for sale for £100. He purchased the locomotive, and moved it to his country estate home at Fawley, Buckinghamshire. This marked the start in 1961 of the Fawley Hill Railway, a private railway which now runs to over a mile long, combining the steepest gradient at 1:13 on a British railway, and includes:
- The GER railway station from Somersham
- Midland Railway signal box from Shobnall Maltings, near Burton upon Trent
- The footbridge from Brading on the Isle of Wight, Bridge No 25, where it spanned the Ryde Pier to Shanklin line
In addition, the perimeter of the railway line is adorned with several prominent architectural features which McAlpine acquired - although these were received mostly as donations; these include the original Wembley Stadium Flagpoles, some early cast-iron bridge parapets, and several arched structures from prominent London locations. Entrance to Fawley Hill Railway is by invitation only on select days, usually during the summer period.
After starting Fawley Hill Railway, McAlpine purchased GWR 4073 Class 4079 Pendennis Castle in partnership with John Gretton, which was subsequently housed at Market Overton in Rutland. After being moved to the Steamtown, she was sold to Rio Tinto and moved to Australia. In January 1973 McAlpine purchased LNER Class A3 4472 Flying Scotsman after a financially disastrous tour of North America, to save her from sale to an America consortium.
McAlpine became involved in a plan to save the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway and became its chairman. After the efforts of Dr Peter Beet to preserve Carnforth LMS 10(A) shed, McAlpine bought shares in 1970, and then took the controlling interest from 1974 until 1987 in the visitor attraction that became Steamtown. McAlpine presently chairs the RH&DR, the Dart Valley Railway, and established and chairs the Railway Heritage Trust.
His first wife Jill Benton Jones, whom he married on 31 October 1959, was an alcoholic, and died in 2003. They had two children: Andrew William McAlpine, born 22 Nov 1960; and Lucinda Mary Jane McAlpine, born 19 June 1964.
He married his second wife, Judith, whom he had known for many years, on 25 March 2004 at the restored station on his private railway, so that he could still be close to his toys.
|Baronetage of the United Kingdom|
Sir (Robert) Edwin McAlpine, 5th Baronet
(of Knott Park)
- "Sir William McAlpine talks to Andy Milne". Railway people. 2006-06-20.
- Official Homepage Of The Worldwide Organization For MacAlpines
- Scott, Caroline (2006-05-07). "William McAlpine". The Times (London). Retrieved 2010-05-23.