Recording Pioneers

Hugh De Lacy O'Connor MURTAGH   arrowarrow PIONEER    PARENTS    LIFE    NOTES    LABELS    PHOTOS    THANK YOU


Hugh De Lacy O'Connor MURTAGH  

aka H. Murtagh
occupation (recording) engineer, inventor
birth .. Jan/Feb/Mar 1886, Marylebone, London, UK
death 13 Jan 1967, St Luke's Hospital (Pietà), Sliema, MALTA
marriage (1) married in .. Jan/Feb/Mar 1911, St. Giles, London:
Eleanor Sara(h) ROBERTS

b. .. Jan/Feb/Mar 1883, Fulham, London, ENGLAND
d. .. July/Aug/Sep 1940, Wandsworth (57y)

  • Elinor Josephine De Lacey

    b. 24 Nov 1911, ............
    d. 1 Jan 1999, Surbiton St Mark, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey (87y)

  • Suzanne Olga De Lacey

    b. .. July/Aug/Sep 1915, Wandsworth, London
    d. 9 Aug 2011, Exmouth, Devon, EX8 2

marriage (2) married in ........:
Sigrid Elfrida Berga OLSEN

b. 15 Apr 1889, Oslo/Christiania, NORWAY
d. 26 Oct 1965, Ashford Hospital, Stanwell, Middlesex. Address: Laleham, Surrey Northern, Surrey, ENGLAND

  • .............


father Thomas MURTAGH

b. <1856>, ........., IRELAND
d. ...........

mother Emily CLUBB

b. .. Oct/Nov/Dec 1856, Colchester, Essex
d. ............

marriage they got married on .. Apr/May/June 1879, Colchester, Essex
  • Clare/Clara Emily

    b. .. Oct/Nov/Dec 1879, St Pancras, London, Middlesex
    d. .. July/Aug/Sep 1964, Paddington, London

  • Grace Marcella Dunthorne

    b. 23 Mar 1883, ............
    d. 17 Mar 1884, .............

  • Nora Gwendoline

    b. 24 Sep 1884, Ahmednagar, Bombay, INDIA
    d. 15 June 1991, Kingston upon Thames

  • Hugh de Lacy O'C

    b. .. Jan/Feb/Mar 1886, Marylebone, London, UK
    d. 13 Jan 1967, St Luke's Hospital (Pietà), Sliema, MALTA

  • Leonard James O'Neill

    b. .. Jan/Feb/Mar 1887, Plymouth, Devon(shire)
    d. .. Apr/May/June 1956, Hendon, Middlesex (69y)


Thomas probably abroad
Emily (23y; b. Colchester, Essex)
- Clare E. (1y; St Pancras)

1891 CENSUS (Eastbourne, Sussex):
Thomas (35y; b. Ireland) retired surgeon Major (Army officer)
Emily (34y; b. Essex, Colchester)
- Clara (11y; St Pancras)
- Nora (6y; East Indies)
- Hugh (5y; Paddington)
- Leonard (4y; Plymouth)
residence: Eastbourne, Sussex

Emily MURTAGH (39y [why not 44y?]; b. <1862> Colchester, Essex, ENGLAND)
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
1901 CENSUS (Brackley, Northamptonshire):
Hugh D. L. MURTAGH (15y; b. <1886>, London) boarder
residence: Brackley, Northamptonshire

1911 CENSUS (2 Apr 1911)
Hugh de Lacy MURTAGH (25y; b. <1886>, Marylebone, London) technical engineer // sound recording expert for talking machines
Eleanor Sara MURTAGH (28y; b. <1883>, Fulham, London)
residence: 29, St George's Mans[ions?], London W. 6

recorder GRAMCO (ag ah ai(j))
from May 1909 - Aug 1914 recording in Milan

Improvements in and relating to mixing machines or the like - United Kingdom Patent GB171330
Assignee: Arnold Theodor Michaelsen & Hugh de Lacy Murtagh
A21C 01/02
A21C 01/00
171,330. Michaelsen, A. T., and Murtagh, H. de L. Jan. 21, 1921. Containers; stirrers.-A mixing-machine of the kind in which a paddle, or paddles, 12 have a planetary motion, is so constructed that the casing 6 containing the gearing of the paddle is made easily detachable from the motor shaft 4, so that the motor can be used for other purposes.
Application Number: GB19210002827 19210121
Publication Number: 171330 (A)
Application Date: 1921-01-21
Publication Date: 1921-11-17

Hugh de Lucy (= Lacy) MURTAGH (43y; b. <1886>, London) engineer speaks French/Danish/English
+ Sigrid Berga MURTAGH (40y; b. <1889>, Oslo (=Christiania) speaks Norwegian/Danish
16 Oct 1929, Southampton
22 Oct 1929, New York

Hugh de Lacy MURTAGH (46y; b. <1886>, London) fire control engineer
+ Sigrid MURTAGH (42y; b. <1890>, Christiania (= Oslo), NORWAY
15 Oct 1932, Liverpool
25 Oct 1932, New York
Here they are presented as Americans

Hugh MURTAGH (48y) engineer
+ Sigrid MURTAGH (45y)
dep. New York: .. May 1934
arr. Southampton: 27 May 1934
c/o Sperry Gyroscope Co. Brentford
country of residence: U.S.A.

Eng./Wales National Probate Calendar
MURTAGH, Sigrid Elfrida Berga of Apple Tree Cottage, Vicarage Lane, Laleham, Middlesex
Died 26 Oct. 1965 at Ashford Hospital, Stanwell, Middlesex
Administration London 30 Nov. to Hugh Delacy O'Connor MURTAGH chartered mechanical engineer: £ 4858 RANGE FINDER, HEIGHT FINDER, AND ... Hugh Murtagh, Laleham-on-Thames, England, assignor to Sperry Gyroscope Company, Incor- porated, Brooklyn, N.Y., a corporation of New York . (filed 21 Apr 1939 / 16 Feb 1943)

Patent Number: US 2392494 (A)
Title: Instrument for use on moving craft
Issue date: Jan 8, 1946

Patent: US 2069417
Titel: Fire control system
Datum: 02.02.1937
Ort: Brooklyn
Land: USA
Person: Hugh Murtagh Bruna A. Wittkuhns
Firma: Sperry (P) Gyroscope Comp. Inc.

Canadian Patent Publication(Source: CIPO)
Publication No. CA 451513 A published on 28-Sep-1948
Application No. CA 451513
Title (French): Instrument pour usage dans avion en marche
Classifications: National: 79/6
Notices: Grant issued: 28-Sep-1948
Language of Filing: English

H. M. Land Registry: Freehold
Appletree Cottage, Vicarage Lane, Laleham, Middlesex by H. D. O. and S. E. B. Murtagh, both of "Moyola", Condor road, Laleham, Middlesex (in The London Gazette of 8 May 1945 (p. 2422))

Another Gramophone Company recording engineer who worked for the Sperry Gyroscope Co. was Edmund J. Pearse

World War II is a period when there is a good record of a difficult period in the Chamber’s history as copies of all the Annual Reports are held in the Local History Collection at Chiswick Library. Membership in February 1941 was 123, a net decrease on the year of one. The report was kept as brief as possible to save paper and evening meetings during the winter had been cancelled because of the bombing. The Annual Dinner had not been held but a successful golf meeting was recorded as having taken place at Fulwell Golf Club.
Interesting and entertaining addresses had been given through the year by members as follows: ‘Gyroscopes’ by Mr H. Murtagh, Chief Engineer of the Sperry Gyroscope Co Ltd.

It seems that Sperry Gyroscope Co Ltd started in Shepherds Bush (the address is London W12) in 1915 and moved to the Great West Road in Brentford on the bank of the Grand Union Canal in 1931. The company offices were in Victoria (London SW).
A book entitled The History of the Great West Road: its social and economic influence on the surrounding area by James Marshall (now out of print) says they were making 'gyroscopic compasses, gyrostabilisers, searchlights and similar apparatus. It was known worldwide for its ship's compasses which were fitted to all the great ocean liners and were standard equipment throughout the Royal Navy. The company manufactured aircraft instruments for both military and civil use. Their directional gyro and artificial horizon were fitted in almost every plane flying.'
It seems that the Air Minister visited the factory in 1939 during the build up to the War and at that time they were making gyroscopic instruments and auto-pilot systems for the Air Force and the Navy and were training personnel in the use of the instruments.
A second factory had been opened about that time at Stonehouse in Gloucestershire as part of the Government's dispersal programme that aimed to reduce the vulnerability of the aircraft industry to bomb damage but the Brentford factory was working 24 hours a day.
By the late 1950s the company took over empty premises along the Great West Road and had a branch factory in Feltham a few miles west of Brentford. They also continued production in Gloustershire. The company moved from Brentford 30 miles west to Bracknell the 1960s.


  • The History of the Great West Road: its social and economic influence on the surrounding area by James Marshall (Heritage Publications, Hounslow, 1995)
  • The Legacy of the de Lacy, Lacey, Lacy Family. 1066-1994 by Gerard Lacey (Midland, Michigan, 1994)
  • The London Gazette of 8 May 1945 (p. 2422)





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