Our History


For decades the Murphy name has been synonymous with delivering customers expectations. The following charts the history of the company from the birth of the founder to the present day.

1913 - John Murphy was born in Loughmark, near Cahirciveen, County Kerry on 5th October.

1927 - John Murphy spent his youth fishing at Bray Head and the Blasket Islands. With little formal education he secured a job in a livery stable after walking 22 miles to Killorglin before moving on to work at a wrought iron business in Tralee.

1930 - Opportunities were few and far between in rural Ireland so John Murphy emigrated to London in the 1930s where John's fate in the construction industry was determined. He took a job at London Airport where one of the first things he had to do was clear snow from the runways.

1939 - War broke out and conscription was introduced. John Murphy wanted to continuing working so his manager wrote to the Ministry of War convincing them that John would make more of a valid contribution to the effort if he stayed in the city and assisted in airport construction. He worked on the development of RAF runways including Dunmore, Weathersfield and Sudbury, and also carried out repairs to essential services in a time of great danger.

1945 - After initially labouring and working as a charge-hand with various construction companies, John Murphy struck out on his own as a sub-contractor. He built his own company with business acumen, confident leadership and precision. John made his mark clearing bomb sites as London was pulverised in the Blitz by the Luftwaffe but he expanded the company’s expertise to include cabling and electrification.

1950 - In 1951 John Murphy established J. Murphy & Sons Limited and during this decade the company specialised in the essential reconstruction of the country’s electrical infrastructure.

1960s - Murphy expanded into roads, water services and Post Office cable installation during the 1960s.

1965 - Murphy Pipelines was established in 1965 to provide a sustained and comprehensive design and construction service to the gas, oil, water and process industry. Murphy contributes to the development of best practice and the introduction of innovative technology and process in a safe environment.

1970s - Murphy plays a pivotal role in the introduction of natural gas in Britain and Ireland in the 1970s. Including the construction in 1976 of a major section of the new gas transmission system.

1977 - The John Murphy Postgraduate Research Fellowship in Civil Engineering was established by Mr Murphy and Professor Eamonn Dillon in 1977 at University College Cork, with the object of researching engineering problems associated with the industrial development of Ireland and its natural resources.

1980s - The 1980s saw J. Murphy & Sons Limited undertake major developments in London such as Broadgate and the construction of a tunnel to link Stansted Airport to the rail network.

1982 - Work began on the 51km onshore pipeline connecting the Morecambe Bay gas field development to the National Grid's gas transmission system.

1984 - J. Murphy & Sons Limited moves into a new headquarters at Hiview House in Kentish Town, London. Designed and built by the company, the reception features a wall hanging commissioned to signify the year 1984 and to mark the occasion.

1985 - J. Murphy & Sons Limited begins work on the Cross-Channel power interconnector between Sellindge in Kent and Calais in France. The company was responsible for the landside installation between Sellindge and Folkstone.

1989 - John Murphy is elected as a fellow by the Institution of Gas Engineers for services to the gas industry in 1989.

1994 - J. Murphy & Sons Limited commences work on the London water ring main and constructs two major sections of the project. The company won the British Construction Industry Award in the civil engineering category in 1994 for achievements on this project.

1995 - As a result of long standing support of University College Cork’s department of civil and environmental engineering, a new laboratory was named after John Murphy, with a plaque being unveiled in 1996. Through the 90s the company was heavily involved in the installation of cable television throughout the UK. 

2000 - The Company commenced construction of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link between Swanscombe (Kent) and Thurrock (Essex) in Joint Venture with Hochtief involving twin tunnels under the Thames.

2001 -John Murphy was a private, family man and very humble about his considerable achievements, rarely accepting public acknowledgement of his major contributions to society and the construction industry. However as a Munster man he was proud to accept an Honorary Doctorate from UCC in recognition of his standing as a benefactor to Civil Engineering in the University and as a major employer of her graduates at a time when Ireland produced more graduates than the home market could employ. Also in 2001 The Company was awarded the Thames Tunnels section of the Cross Channel Rail Link as well as the contract for diverting all the services to facilitate construction of the Rail Link in East London.

The company were winners of the Utilities Industry 2001 Achievement Awards “investment in People”.

2002 - The company, as part of a joint venture with Interserve and Keir, wins the United Utilities process framework for the construction of water treatment plants covering the period from 2002 to 2015.

2005 - Murphy Pipelines is named company of the year at the 2005 Gas Industry Awards.

Murphy was also awarded the design and construction of the £150 million Brecon to Tirley gas pipeline as part of the system to deliver liquefied natural gas (LNG) into the national transmission grid.

2006 - The company secured the first major contract on the construction of the Olympic Park for the 2012 Games, to construct major cable tunnels and associated sub-stations.

2007 - John Murphy is named 'Kerry Person of the Year' in recognition of his achievements and his loyalty to his Irish roots, notably by employing many of his fellow country men and women. On countless occasions he gave Irish people their first job opportunities in Britain. Mr Murphy was famed for his hands-on approach and not being afraid to join workers in the trenches with a shovel.

2008 - A joint venture with Siemens and PB Power wins the National Grid Electrical Alliance North five year framework for sub-station and ancillary equipment construction.

2009 - On 7th May, John Murphy passed away at the age of 95 at his home in London surrounded by his family.

John Murphy leaves a phenomenal legacy with the family-owned construction company well positioned to enter into future markets. Continuing his legacy, the Murphy led Lower Lee Valley cable tunnels project for the Olympic Village is awarded the accolade of 'project of the year' by the Association of Project Management.

2010 - Murphy begins work to upgrade Deephams sewage treatment plant in Edmonton for Thames Water in a contract worth more than £38m. This includes construction of new inlet works with a terminal pumping station and two new 5,600m³ capacity storm tanks, as well as refurbishment of existing storm tanks. Phase one of the project is completed in 2012.

2011 - Murphy expands into Australia merging with Pipe and Civil to become Murphy Pipe and Civil, with a 50 per cent shareholding in the company. The company completes its first coal seam gas gathering field in Queensland’s Surat Basin and makes significant headway with its introduction of Spiderplough technology for HDPE pipe installation.

2012 - Following the success of Channel Tunnel, Murphy secures involvement in one of Europe’s biggest infrastructure projects, Crossrail, with a role in the £250m tunnelling section between Plumstead to North Woolwich. The work is carried out as part of a joint venture with Hochtief.

2013 - The Murphy Group purchased Land and Marine Engineering Limited from Daniel Contractors in May 2013.

2013 – In November, Thames Water confirms that AMK - a joint venture between Aecom, Murphy and Kier - has been awarded a £177 million contract on Phase Two of the rebuild of Deephams, London’s largest sewage works. This will see AMK work to improve water quality of the River Lee, reduce odour and meet tighter environmental standards.

2014 - Murphy’s relationship with Network Rail continues as it is awarded £200m share of CP5 framework agreements, covering an extensive programme of enhancement and renewal work to the London North Western routes over the next five years.

2015 - As part of the electrification of the Great Western mainline railway between London and Wales and the west, Murphy is employed by National Grid for enabling works that will connect 25kV underground cables to carry the electricity. Murphy joins forces with Morrison Utility Services to create the Agility Alliance in a £1bn Thames Water infrastructure contract. The support work on the water networks includes repair, maintenance and all associated activities to drive down leakage and reduce interruptions to supply for customers.

2016 - Murphy enters a new phase with a focus on four main sectors of rail, water, power and natural resources, building on long-standing relationships built over more than 60 years. The senior leadership team is strengthened and Murphy launches its ten-year plan to grow the business up to 2025.

2017 - Murphy announces the sale of its 50 per cent stake in Australian pipeline developer MPC, which realises a multiple return on the initial investment.

2018 - With a broad range of experience across the business for over 15 years, John Murphy takes the helm as new chief executive officer. This comes more than 60 years after his grandfather first founded the company. Murphy announces its acquisition of Carillion's UK power framework business.

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