Sir William McAlpine, 6th Baronet

Sir William Hepburn McAlpine
Born (1936-01-12) 12 January 1936
Dorchester Hotel, London, UK
Nationality British
Occupation Businessman
Spouse(s) Jill Benton Jones 1959-2003 (deceased)
Lady Judith McAlpine 2004-
Children Andrew William McAlpine
Lucinda Mary Jane McAlpine

Sir William Hepburn McAlpine, 6th Baronet (born 1936) is a British millionaire businessman, a former director of the construction company Sir Robert McAlpine.


Born in London in 1936 at the family-owned Dorchester Hotel,[1] McAlpine is the oldest son of Sir Edwin McAlpine, later created Lord McAlpine of Moffat, by his marriage to Ella Mary Gardner Garnett.[1] His great-grandfather was "Concrete Bob", Sir Robert McAlpine, the first of the McAlpine baronets and the founder of the construction company. He had two younger brothers Alistair McAlpine, Baron McAlpine of West Green, was his younger brother, as is David McAlpine.

Brought up at the family home in Surrey and educated at Charterhouse School,[1] McAlpine joined the family firm from school, starting his career at the Hayes Depot in Middlesex, a 30-acre (120,000 m2) site which housed the McAlpine railway locomotive and wagon fleet. The years after the Second World War were a busy time for the construction industry.

In 1990, on the death of his father, McAlpine inherited his baronetcy and became Sir William. He is patron of the Clan MacAlpine Society.[2] 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 the Railway Benefit Fund, a charity helping current and retired railway industry workers.

Fawley Hill Railway

A 1913 Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0 ST steam locomotive on the Fawley Hill Railway. It was delivered to Sir Robert McAlpine and used on a series of major projects including Wembley Stadium.

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.[3] This marked the start in 1961 of the 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge 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:[4]

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. Sir William's extensive private railway museum is maintained by volunteers.

Other railways

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.[1] 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.[1]

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.[1]

British Rail Class 60 60008 of EWS was named in his honour.

Personal life

His first wife Jill Benton Jones, whom he married on 31 October 1959, was an alcoholic,[5] 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.

Styles of address

Baronetage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir (Robert) Edwin McAlpine, 5th Baronet
(of Knott Park)


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Sir William McAlpine talks to Andy Milne". Railway people. 2006-06-20.
  2. Official Homepage of the Worldwide Organization for MacAlpines
  3. "Fawley". Hampton Court MRS. Archived from the original on 19 June 2013.
  4. "Fawley Museum Railway". Archived from the original on 25 September 2011.
  5. Scott, Caroline (2006-05-07). "William McAlpine". The Times. London. Retrieved 2010-05-23.
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