Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: September 15, 2019
Webpage updated: September 15, 2019




Messrs S Stephens Limited, bakers and confectioners, had their headquarters at 55 Ebrington Street.

Solomon Stephens was born at 34 Embankment Road, Cattedown, Plymouth, in 1864.  His father, Mr James Stephens, was a master baker, and his mother was formerly Miss Elizabeth Velvin, of Ermington, Devon.  He married 22-years-old Miss Louisa Scanes at Ide, near Exeter, on April 27th 1886.

He opened his first shop at number 4 Drake's Buildings, Drake's Terrace, in Hill Street, some time before 1890.

Mr Stephens took over Messrs R Risdon and Sons in 1901.

By 1914 he had added 14 Notte Street to his baker's shops, and also sold ham and beef at number 51 Ebrington Street.  He also had confectioners at 66 Old Town Street, at 1 Belle Vue Place, Cobourg Street, and at 55b Salisbury Road.

At the beginning of the Second World War in 1939 the business was known as Messrs S Stephens and Risdon Limited and they had branches at:

  • 55 Ebrington Street;
  • 57 Cobourg Street;
  • 66 Old Town Street (Mikado Cafe);
  • 7 Mutley Plain;
  • 27 Frankfort Street;
  • 55b Salisbury Road;
  • 96 James Street, Devonport;
  • 66 George Street, Devonport;
  • 43 Tavistock Road, Stoke;
  • 13 Station Road, Keyham Barton;
  • 34 Marlborough Street, Devonport (Sunshine Cafe);
  • 38/39 Edgcumbe Street, East Stonehouse;
  • 246 Peverell Park Road;
  • 2 Saint Mary Bridge, Plympton.

Mr Solomon Stephens died on Friday October 20th 1950.

The business was taken over by Messrs Rank Limited in 1951.  It comprised three bakeries and 17 shops.

A branch at 30 Hornchurch Road, Ernesettle, was opened at 9am on Thursday August 20th 1953.

On Monday June 15th 1981 it was announced that the Stephens' cafe in New George Street was to close on June 27th 1981 because of a huge rise in the rent charged by Plymouth City Council.  Five of the staff were redeployed elsewhere but 18 people lost their jobs.  The manager, Mr John Diprose, disclosed that their seven-year lease was about to end and that the annual rent was to rise from 3,100 to a staggering 41,000.

Describing her father in 1983, one of his daughters, Mrs Gwendoline Churchill, said that: 'he was a very proud man in the sense that he wanted the business well run.  Second best would not do.  I think that was achieved.  With family as with business - strict but very generous.  He was something of a disciplinarian.'