Leicester-based Charles Street Buildings property investment and development group has assets worth close to £520 million. Tea girl to multi-millionaire Freddie Linnett is a director and leading shareholder in the successful family-owned company.
The Murphy family, including Freddie Linnett’s uncles Hughie and Paddy Murphy, came to Great Britain from Ireland in 1945. They settled in Leicester and set up Murphy Bros, a civil engineering business where Freddie used to act as secretary and tea girl. On the back of the post war property boom the business moved into aggregates and transport. The transport company was sold off to the British Electric Traction Company in 1968 and the proceeds used to build up the commercial property business.
Irish-born Freddie Linnett – who had a reputation for hard work – became a director and inherited her stake in the company on the death of her uncles in the 1990s. At that time she was the richest woman in the country behind the Queen.
She married Leicester accountant Michael Linnett, while the day to day running of the company was taken over by Freddie’s brother Hugo Murphy, whose wife and sons are also directors.
Dealing primarily in property development, sales and lettings, Charles Street Buildings is very successful. Based in Thurmaston, the company is consistently profitable. The Thurmaston site also includes a retail park which is home to many of the UK’s major retail brands.
The group’s portfolio includes major property interests in the city and county of Leicester, but also across the UK, Ireland and Guernsey, including, offices, retail premises, warehouses and industrial units totalling five million sq ft, some of it let to the Government on long leases. The company is a patron of Leicestershire Chamber of Commerce. Freddie Linnett also holds directorships of a number of other property companies.
Sixty-two year old Freddie Linnett – a keen golfer – is active in charitable fund raising, in particular the Ireland Fund of Great Britain. The fund – founded in London in 1988 – supports Irish communities in Great Britain, Northern Ireland and the Republic with grants for social and educational projects.