One way to ride out the slump in property values is to let buildings to the government. That’s exactly what Leicester-based Charles Street Buildings has been doing.
Tea girl to multi-millionaire Winifred 'Freddie' Linnett is a director and leading shareholder in the successful family-owned property company Charles Street Buildings (Leicester).
The Murphy family, including Freddie Linnett’s uncles, came to Great Britain from Ireland after the Second World War. They settled in Leicester and set up Charles Street Buildings where Freddie used to act as secretary and tea girl.
On the back of the post war property boom the business moved into aggregates, transport and engineering. The transport company was sold of in the 1960s, a huge sum in those days, which was 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.
Dealing primarily in property development, sales and lettings, Charles Street Buildings is very successful. Based on Melton Road in Thurmaston, the company is consistently profitable and is worth close to £400 million.
The 60-year-old Freddie Linnett modestly puts the business’s success down to “good housekeeping”.
The group’s portfolio includes major property interests in the city and county of Leicester, including, offices, retail premises, warehouses and industrial units totalling five million sq ft. The company is a patron of Leicestershire Chamber of Commerce.
Freddie Linnett also holds directorships of a number of other property companies.
A keen golfer, she 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.