- Created on Friday, 28 March 2014 08:10
The Hon Sir William McAlpine, Bt
The Hon. Sir William McAlpine, Bt. has agreed to become Patron of THE ‘CLAN’ PROJECT. Very appropriately, Sir William is Patron of the ‘Clan McAlpine’ Society. By giving his support for the Project by becoming its Patron, Sir William said "I am most happy to be associated with this very worthy project, which is well advanced, and I urge all enthusiasts of main line steam to become involved in this exciting project".
He continued ‘I’ve always been fascinated by railways. My earliest memories are of being taken to watch the trains and when Nanny wanted to take me back for lunch, I said, ‘Hold on, there’ll be another one along in a minute.’ There was a railway near the family home in Surrey and young William was regularly taken to see the trains. His interest deepened with his first model railway.
He was born in London at the family owned Dorchester Hotel and was raised at the family home in Surrey and, after being educated at Charterhouse School, he went on to join the family building firm. Post World War Two was a busy time for construction, with Sir William starting his career at Hayes Depot, Middlesex, a 30-acre site which housed the McAlpine’s railway locomotive and wagon fleet.
An acknowledged steam enthusiast, he returned to Hayes depot during the Beeching Axe era, to find that the company’s Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0ST Nº 31, was for sale as scrap for £100. So, Sir William said “...send it over to Fawley”. This marked the start, in 1965, of the Fawley Hill Railway, a private railway which now runs to over a mile long.
Entrance to the Fawley Hill Railway is by invitation only and on selected days which are usually during the summer months. This year THE ‘CLAN’ PROJECT has been invited to attend.
Sir William inherited the baronetcy in 1990 on the death of Sir Robert McAlpine, 5th Baronet. He served as High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire for 1999.
He is a governor of the educational charity Shiplake Court Limited. Shiplake College is an independent school in Shiplake, by the River Thames just outside Henley-on-Thames, England. The school, with just over 350 pupils, admits day boys from 11-18 and boarding boys from 13-18. Day and boarding girls join the College in the Sixth Form.
Sir William is the President of the Railway Benevolent Institution, known as the Railway Benefit Fund, a charity helping current and retired railway industry workers and presently chairs the Railway Heritage Trust.
Sir William is the great-grandson of Sir Robert McAlpine, who founded the contracting company that bears his name to this day. Sir William spent his working career, apart from National Service, in the company, starting as an apprentice fitter, and spending many years as a Director.
The company is famous for the construction of many famous landmark structures including: the Glasgow Subway, Mallaig Extension Railway, Emirates Stadium, Glenfinnan Viaduct - completed in 1901 - the original Wembley Stadium in 1923, the Dorchester Hotel, the Millennium Dome, the Millennium Bridge, London, the Bull Ring in Birmingham, the London Olympics Stadium and the Eden Project in St. Austell in Cornwall.
Sir William McAlpines name, however, will be forever synonymous with the rescue of the ‘FLYING SCOTSMAN’ in 1973 and the establishment of the Railway Heritage Trust and he is warmly welcomed to THE ‘CLAN’ PROJECT, where his wealth of knowledge and experience in the world of heritage railways and business will be put to very good use.