His company, J. Murphy & Sons, based in Kentish Town, with its green vans and lorries, works on building sites all over the country. His worth was recently estimated at about £190 million. Unlike many other wealthy men, he spent little on luxuries and preferred to spend time with his own workmen and other Irish friends.
Murphy was born at Loughmark, near Cahersiveen, County Kerry.
He left school at 15 but found work hard to come by. He travelled to London and started up as a subcontractor in the building trade.
The Second World War offered him a golden opportunity. New airfields were urgently needed and later on runway repairs were needed also.
He was successful in providing this service and at end of the war was well placed to help with large-scale reconstruction.
Other ventures included electrification, cable installation, water facilities and road-building. In the 1970s a specialist division of the company worked on the development of natural gas. Later projects included the Stansted Airport Rail Link, work in the City of London, the Channel Tunnel Rail Link and London’s Olympic Park.
lieutenant was recently appointed lead contractor in the £125 million Liverpool-Manchester water pipeline project, which is to carry up to 100 million litres of water per day.