©  Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: October 29, 2017
Webpage updated: July 01, 2018




Messrs C A & W Goodbody Ltd, bakers, confectioners and caterers, were located at 19/20 Bedford Street; 45 George Street; and 49 Mutley Plain, Plymouth, before the Second World War while their bakery was in Mill Street.  Thereafter the bakery was in Hampton Street.

An advert for Goodbody's cafes

Mr Charles Arthur Goodbody and Mr Walter Cecil Goodbody were two brothers born of a Quaker family at Tullamore in Ireland.  Charles was educated at Bootham School, York  [8].  At the ages of 21 and 17 respectively they were boarding with Mr William Goodbody, a tobacco manufacturer, at 9 Beach Lawn, Great Crosby, Lancashire.  They were both clerks but they may not have been employed in the tobacco business.

There was no further trace of them until 1901, when they appear in the census as tea and coffee dealer and café proprietor respectively.

In fact, in 1893, 41-years-old Mr Charles Arthur Goodbody had taken over the premises at number 5 George Street, Plymouth, that formerly belonged to Messrs T R Bond & Company.  He opened Plymouth's first café as opposed to a restaurant.  He was living at 7 Southview Terrace, Hartley Avenue, Compton.

Four or five years later he moved the café to 45 George Street and was then joined in the business by his brother Walter.  In 1900 they opened a café at number 20 Bedford Street.

The Bedford Street premises could seat 1,000 people and diners could enjoy the music of their resident band, under the direction of Mr Stanton Wicks (1883-1945).

In 1907 they expanded by taking over Messrs R Risdon & Sons, bakers, thus acquiring the dining rooms and restaurant of Mr John Risdon at 33 George Street, and the two confectionary shops at 38 George Street and 6 Treville Street.

During the early 1930s the Company took over the business of Messrs H Matthews & Sons Ltd, bakers, and combined their restaurant at 11 and 12 Bedford Street with the Goodbody's one at 20 Bedford Street.  On Wednesday March 20th 1929 Plymouth's Deputy Mayor, Mr J E Pillar, opened the new extended premises.  This had required a great deal of reconstruction of the ground floor and the former bakery, which was transferred to Mill Street, was transformed into what they called the Matthews' Extension Rooms.  It could accommodate an extra 200 people and could be used for evening functions like whist drives and dances.  The shop was entered in Bedford Street but the restaurant could be accessed through an arcade leading in from number 3 George Street.

There was already a branch at 49 Mutley Plain and another at 45 George Street.

In addition, from March 31st 1930 the Company were to rent the Hoe Tea Pavilion for three years, at an annual rental of £250.

One interesting innovation, which could well be repeated today, was their display of a 6 feet tall model cake of Derry's Clock Tower in their George Street shop window in the run up to Christmas 1933.

Mr Charles Arthur Goodbody died on Tuesday December 20th 1938 at the age of 79.  He was survived by his widow, and three daughters, Mrs E Bonville Fox, Doctor N C Goodbody and Mrs R C Brown.

Both the Bedford Street restaurant and the George Street shop were destroyed in the Blitz of March 1941.

His widow, Mrs Ruth C Goodbody, died Saturday April 15th 1944 at the age of 76.

After the end of the Second World War Messrs C A & W Goodbody Ltd had their head office at Hampton Street.  There was a shop and restaurant at 38 Royal Parade; 49 Mutley Plain; 30 Glanville Street; and 2 Moorshead Terrace, Crownhill.  The headquarters of the catering department was at 1 Moor View Terrace, Mutley.  Bakery shops were at 12a Russell Street; 10 King Street; 14 Market Avenue; 26 William Street, Devonport; 95 Wolseley Road, Devonport; Torridge Way, Efford; and at Honicknowle Green.  A second company, Messrs Goodbody-Matthews Ltd, had shops at 111 Victoria Road, St Budeaux; and Oaklands Corner, Peverell.

On Monday March 29th 1954 it was announced that the bakery and confectionary business had been acquired by Messrs Wales and South-Western Bakeries Ltd, which was a subsidiary of Messrs Allied Bakeries Ltd.  The founder and chairman of Messrs Allied Bakeries Ltd was Mr William Garfield Weston, a Canadian.  The Goodbody's name was retained, however.

Included in the sale were the bakery in Hampton Street; the shop and restaurant on Mutley Plain; and the retail premises in Royal Parade, Glanville Street, Russell Street, Wolseley Road, Moorshead Terrace at Crownhill, Oaklands Corner at Peverell, Honicknowle Green and Torridge Way at Efford.  Mr A B Goodbody would be remaining as the chairman of the Goodbody's Group, which included Messrs Goodbody-Matthews Ltd.  Some 350 people were employed by the Group at that time.

But the sale excluded the proposed new restaurant to be erected in New George Street as a part of the reconstruction of Plymouth programme so a new business, Messrs Goodbody's Ltd, caterers, was formed by Mr A B Goodbody, a nephew of the founders, to run it and they were based in Prudential House, Royal Parade.  With his son, Mr Oliver Goodbody, and a Mr Hartley R Pollard, he built a restaurant on two floors, with a shop and snack bar on the ground floor and a bakery and kitchens above.

On Wednesday December 2nd 1959 Messrs E Dingle & Company Ltd took over the restaurant of Messrs Goodbody's Ltd, which employed around 130 people.  Mr Pollard became a director and the general manager of the new enterprise.

The bakery in Hampton Street continued to operate as Messrs C A & W Goodbody Ltd until Saturday November 16th 1974, when it was closed down, throwing some 300 people out of work.  The general manager, Mr Michael Osborne, gave no reason for the closure.  The retail shops continued to function under new, non-local ownership.