Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: September 22, 2019
Webpage updated: January 04, 2020




Mr Charles Goodanew was the founder of the Plymouth Mutual Co-operative and Industrial Society, the forerunner of the Plymouth and South West Co-operative Society Limited.

Mr Charles Goodanew

Mr Charles Goodanew.
Photo courtesy Mrs Sandra Robinson.

It seems to have always been claimed that he was born in 1814 but he was not baptised until October 1st 1815, the event being recorded in the parish register for the Church of Saint Mary Magdalene at Launceston.  The name recorded in the register is actually Charles Goodnuff, as opposed to Goodanew, and he was the daughter of one Sarah Bray, spinster, of Fore Street, Launceston.

Nothing is known about his early life.  His mother, Sally Bray, married a Mr Richard Goodman in Launceston on May 28th 1817 so he may have initially joined that family.  But Mr Goodman died in 1820 and Sally married again on November 30th 1823 at Tavistock, this time to a Mr John Goodanew.  This name re-appears below.

Mr Charles Goodanew married Miss Elizabeth Ann Goodman at Stoke Damerel Parish Church on September 11th 1837.  She was the daughter of Mr William Goodman, a labourer.  At that time Charles declared his father as being a Mr John Goodanew and his occupation as a cordwainer.

The couple went on to have a large family.  The eldest was Miss Elisabeth Ann Sarah Jane Goodanew, who was born at the end of 1837.  This suggests this may have been a "shot gun" wedding!  In addition to four more daughters, they also had four sons, William John Goodanew in 1842; Charles Henry Goodanew in 1845; and the twins, James Joseph Goodanew and Richard George Goodanew in 1851.

At the time of the 1851 census the family were living at number 20 Old Town Street, Plymouth, and Charles was a shoemaker.  His widowed mother, 65-years-old Mrs Sally Goodanew, was living with them as were two brothers, James Goodanew, aged 24, and Richard Goodanew, aged 28.

Charles's own brother, Mr William Goodanew, a bootmaster journeyman, was in 1851 living at number 7 Catte Street, Plymouth.

By Christmas 1859 Charles Goodanew had moved to number 7 Tin Street, down by the Barbican, and it was there, in a small back room, that he entertained two friends by reading them passages from the book about the Rochdale Pioneers, the founders of the Co-operative movement.  He so enthused his tiny audience that they decided to form a co-operative in Plymouth.  After several other meetings, and with the support of other local men, the Plymouth Mutual Co-operative and Industrial Society was formed.  He was member number 1, the Father of the Society.

Mrs Elizabeth Ann Goodanew died on June 18th 1873 at the age of 56.

Mr Charles Goodanew died on Sunday November 1st  1903, at the home of his son-in-law, 40 Pentyre Terrace.  He was buried in a polished elm coffin at the Plymouth (Ford Park) Cemetery on Wednesday November 4th 1903.  In an address of appreciation Mr Vaughan, the Society's oldest committee member, said that Mr Goodanew's final words had been: 'I wish you good-bye; I am going home'.  He described him as 'a man of peace, not war, and quietness of character'.

The gravestone in Ford Park Cemetery of Mr Charles Goodanew, Mrs Elizabeth Ann Goodanew, and Mr Thomas Henry Reynolds.  Photo courtesy of Mrs Sally Roberts.

The gravestone in Ford Park Cemetery of Mr Charles Goodanew, Mrs Elizabeth Ann Goodanew and
Mr Thomas Henry Reynolds.
Photo Mrs Sally Roberts, Plymouth.


  With acknowledgement to Mrs Sandra Robinson, the Great Great Granddaughter of Mr Goodanew,
for the information about Mr Goodanew's baptism at Launceston;
and to Mrs Sally Roberts, formerly of Plymouth, for the photograph of the gravestone.