Sir Robert McAlpine, 1st Baronet

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Sir Robert McAlpine, 1st Baronet
Born Robert McAlpine
(1847-02-13)13 February 1847
Newarthill, North Lanarkshire, Scotland
Died 3 November 1934(1934-11-03) (aged 87)
Nationality Scottish
Other names Concrete Bob
Occupation Businessman
  • Agnes Hepburn (m. 1868; d. 1888)
  • Florence Margaret Palmer (m. 18891934)
Children 6; including Alfred David and Archibald Douglas

Sir Robert McAlpine, 1st Baronet (13 February 1847 – 3 November 1934),[1] nicknamed "Concrete Bob", founded the British construction firm which is now known as Sir Robert McAlpine.


He left school at the age of 10 to work in a coal mine, but became an apprentice bricklayer. He was involved in the building of roads, public buildings and other works, some of the tunnelling for the Glasgow Subway and the Singer Sewing Machine factory in Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire.[2] Overseas, in 1918 McAlpine was contracted to expand the harbour in Heraklion, Crete. The power station built for the purpose was later used to provide the town's electricity.[3]

Construction company[edit]

McAlpine built up the large building and civil engineering firm that bears his name; it continues to exist today as part of Carillion plc. He was also a pioneer in the use of concrete and labour-saving machinery. See also Glenfinnan Viaduct.[4]


He was made a baronet in June 1918.[5][6] He was first of the McAlpine baronets.


Robert McAlpine was married twice. On 12 June 1868, he married Agnes Hepburn (d. 1888). They had five sons: Robert (1868–1934), William Hepburn (1871–1950), Thomas Malcolm (1877–1967), Alfred David (1881–1944) and Granville (1882–1928) and two daughters, Agnes and Ethel. His daughter Agnes became the second wife of Louis Marie Charles Fradin de Belabre in 1905. De Belabre had a son and two daughters from his first marriage to Janetta Alexandra West, a grand daughter of Admiral Sir John West, but she had died in 1903. Agnes de Belabre and Louis had one daughter, Yolande born in 1908, but divorced in 1915. On 21 August 1889, he married Florence Margaret Palmer and had one son: Archibald Douglas (1890–1981) and two daughters, Emma and Roberta.[7] Roberta married Richard Lloyd George and was the mother of Owen Lloyd George, 3rd Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor.

Styles of address[edit]

  • 1847–1918: Mr Robert McAlpine
  • 1918–1934: Sir Robert McAlpine Bt


  1. ^ "Person Page 7365". Retrieved 2013-11-26. 
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ "Electricity | Major Public Works | Union – World War I – The Interwar Years | Historical Periods | Municipality of Heraklion – a city through the ages". Retrieved 2013-11-26. 
  4. ^ "Scottish Surname History". Retrieved 2013-11-26. 
  5. ^ "No. 30723". The London Gazette. 3 June 1918. p. 6524. [dead link]
  6. ^ [2] Archived July 7, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ "McAlpine". Retrieved 2013-11-26. 
Baronetage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
New Creation
(of Knott Park)
Succeeded by
Robert McAlpine