Pat McNicholas, the father of current chairman Tommy McNicholas, arrived in the UK from rural Ireland in the 1920s to dig the streets. In 1949 he set up McNicholas Construction, run initially from a small office in north London, to dig holes for cables and pipes for the likes of the General Post Office. Over 50 years later, McNicholas Construction serves a wide range of utilities companies throughout the world. The company recorded sales of £330m in 2001, when it had 2,610 employees.
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