©  Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: August 27, 2019
Webpage updated: February 28, 2020




Mr Charles Arthur Goodbody and Mr Walter Cecil Goodbody were two brothers born of a Quaker family at Tullamore in Ireland.  founded the Plymouth bakery and confectioners' business of Messrs C A and W Goodbody Limited, which had three retail shops and a bakery in the Borough.

Interior of the Goodbody's cafe in Bedford Street.
From a postcard.

Charles was educated at Bootham School, York.  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 and 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 business expanded to the extent that before the Second World War they had a bakery in Mill Street and retail premises at 19/20 Bedford Street, 45 George Street, and 49 Mutley Plain.  They also rented the Hoe Tea Pavilion.

When the business was converted in to a Limited Company, both Mr C A Goodbody and Mr W C Goodbody became joint managing directors.

Mr Charles Arthur Goodbody died on Tuesday December 20th 1938 at the age of 79.  He was survived by his widow, and three daughters.

After the end of the Second World War Messrs C A and W Goodbody Limited had their head office and bakery 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, Saint Budeaux; and Oaklands Corner (now known as Peverell Corner), Peverell.

Mr Walter Cecil Goodbody, of "Woodhaye", Ivybridge, Devon, died in Plymouth on Tuesday May 2nd 1950.  His wife died in 1948.  They had no family.  He was buried at Efford Cemetery on Saturday May 6th 1950. 

On Monday March 29th 1954 it was announced that the bakery and confectionary business had been acquired by Messrs Wales and South-Western Bakeries Limited, which was a subsidiary of Messrs Allied Bakeries Limited.  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 Limited.  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 Limited, 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 and Company Limited took over the restaurant of Messrs Goodbody's Limited, 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 Limited 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.  The  cafe at 38 Royal Parade is now (2019) operated by the Friary Mill Bakery company.