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Archibald Hall - Con Man
Archibald Hall possessed the confidence and cunning of the slickest of con-men. It once led him to meeting the Queen. Taken on as butler by a rich landowner, Hall intercepted his employer’s invitation to a garden party at Buckingham Palace. Hall calmly hired a morning suit and attended the party, passing himself off as his employer.
On another occasion he dressed as an Arab sheikh, and turned up at a London hotel in a chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce. There, he invited jewellery salesmen to allow him to inspect their wares, in private, of course. Eager to make easy money, and utterly taken in, they allowed him to do so, whereupon he then simply disappeared – with the jewels. Another trick was to tell a hotel receptionist, in confidence, that he was a Lord, but didn’t wish it to be known as he shunned publicity. Then an accomplice would enter the hotel bar, and call out ‘Well, if it isn’t Lord so-and-so…’, and after word had suitably spread Hall would cash a bogus cheque at the hotel – then vanish!
Perhaps his most spectacular ‘con’ was the occasion in 1963 when he sought employment by applying for a buttling position to the then Lord Mayor of London, Sir George Aylwen. Having made his appearance, he scuttled off to the home of his employer, and intercepting Lady Aylwen’s telephone call enquiring about none other than himself, he impersonated his employer and proceeded to give himself a glowing reference. He got the job.