Sir Alexander Graham GBE (OH 1951) – Responsibility
Sir Alexander arrived at The Hall after a period as a war time evacuee in the Scottish Highlands. As part of his entrance exam he was given a reading test but his Scottish accent was so thick that the Headmaster couldn’t understand a word he said.
He remembers that there were two distinct gangs in the Junior school playground at that time, the Scottish and the English, and they regularly got into fist fights at break (Boxing was still a school sport).
On his school record card, Sir Alexander Graham is described by his Headmaster, Gerard Wathen, as having ‘a cheeky sense of humour’ and being ‘rather flippant’, but he obviously made a good impression and was appointed as the Head Boy in his final term before going on to St Pauls. He was also the Captain of Swimming and Captain of Dancing which was taken very seriously in those days.
He made great friends at the Hall and in 1991 he helped to organize a reunion dinner for more than 130 of his contemporaries to celebrate 50 years since leaving. His closest friend was Colin Frizzell (OH 1952) and after leaving St Paul’s, he was invited to join the Frizzell Insurance group which he eventually ran as the Managing Director.
Sir Alexander has had an outstanding career in public service as an Alderman of Queenhithe Ward, Sheriff of the City of London and from 1990-91 as the Lord Mayor of London.
In his year as the Lord Mayor he was involved with many important and memorable events including:
- A visit to the rear guard of the Royal Fusiliers regiment on the day that the first Gulf War started and the organisation of the welcome home parade for the troops when the war ended
- Hosting state visits for many world leaders, including President Mubarak of Egypt, President Lech Walesa of Poland and President Ailwyn of Chile
- A visit to Argentina to meet President Menem as part of the process to restore diplomatic relations following the Falklands war
- And, a visit to the Hall School in full ceremonial dress, much to the delight of the boys
Sir Alexander continues to keep a close eye on the progress of the school and served on the Governing body from 1975-93. He returned in 2015 to join in the celebrations of our 125th Anniversary year.