Arnold Goodman, Baron Goodman

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The Lord Goodman
Lord Goodman.jpg
Lord Goodman, 1974
Chairman of the Arts Council of Great Britain
In office
Preceded byThe Lord Cottesloe
Succeeded byPatrick Gibson
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
In office
20 July 1965 – 12 May 1995
Life Peerage
Personal details
Aby Goodman

21 August 1913
London, England
Died12 May 1995(1995-05-12) (aged 81)
London, England
Residence(s)London and Oxford
EducationUniversity College London; Downing College, Cambridge
OccupationLawyer and political advisor
Known forChairman of the Arts Council of Great Britain; solicitor/advisor to Harold Wilson; Master of University College, Oxford

Arnold Abraham Goodman, Baron Goodman, CH, (21 August 1913 – 12 May 1995)[1] was a British lawyer and political advisor.


Arnold Goodman was born at Hackney, London, son of Jewish parents Joseph Goodman (1879/80-1940), a master draper, and Bertha (1887-1959), daughter of Joseph Mauerberger, owner of a Stepney drapery business.[2][3] His first name was given on his birth certificate as "Aby", which was only corrected by his father in 1931. The Goodman family were comfortably prosperous, as Goodman described in profiles.[4] He was educated at Hackney Downs School (formerly The Grocers' Company School), University College London, and Downing College, Cambridge.[5] He became a leading London lawyer as Senior Partner in the law firm Goodman, Derrick & Co (now Goodman Derrick LLP).[6] He was solicitor and advisor to politicians such as Harold Wilson.

Lord Goodman was chairman of the Arts Council of Great Britain from 1965 until 1972, succeeded by Lord Gibson. As chair of the Arts Council, Goodman managed the organisation's 'golden age' with the establishing of the South Bank Centre and adoption of the only UK government bill for the Arts while the Council began regular funding for a number of galleries and theatre companies in the English regions. He was also chairman of British Lion Films, the Committee of Inquiry into Charity Law, the Committee on London Orchestras, the Housing Corporation, the National Building Agency, the Newspaper Proprietors' Association, and The Observer Trust, as well as being Director of the Royal Opera House and Sadler's Wells, Governor of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, a member of the Planning Committee for the Open University and President of the Theatrical Advisory Committee. He was a Senior Fellow of the Royal College of Art and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Art. He was also a founder and patron of the Next Century Foundation.[citation needed] He was awarded an Honorary Degree (Doctor of Laws) by the University of Bath in 1976.[7] On 7 November of the same year, he formally opened the British Music Information Centre (BMIC).[citation needed]

Publisher Rupert Hart-Davis was a client when Goodman was a partner in Rubenstein Nash; Goodman reached an agreement with Winston Churchill and Lord Beaverbrook over G. M. Young's life of Stanley Baldwin in 1952, though it required the "hideously expensive" job of removing and replacing seven leaves with revised wording in 7,580 copies of the book. In 1963, Goodman (now in his own firm, Goodman Derrick) arranged for Granada Television to take over Hart-Davis's loss-making publishing firm and Hart-Davis "wasn't surprised when he became a leading trouble-shooter for the government". After hearing details of the firm's finances for ten or fifteen minutes Goodman dictated everything back to his secretary: "the most amazing feat of mental agility I've ever seen or heard of".[8]

In 1977, Goodman founded the Motability scheme for disabled motorists.[9]

Later in his career, Lord Goodman was Master of University College, Oxford, succeeding Lord Redcliffe-Maud in 1976. He retired from the post in 1986 and died from pneumonia on 12 May 1995.[citation needed]

Arnold Goodman was created a life peer as Baron Goodman, of the City of Westminster in 1965[10] and sat as a Crossbencher. He was made a Companion of Honour in 1972.[11]


After Goodman's death one of his wealthy clients, Lord Portman alleged that Goodman stole funds worth £10 million from his family's trust over a 30-year period and made donations to the Labour Party. Portman commenced legal proceedings for recovery but the claim was never substantiated, and the research of Goodman's biographer concluded that it had no substance.[12]

Goodman was often portrayed by Private Eye as a sinister "power behind the throne" exerting huge influence on the British establishment. Private Eye often referred to him as Lord "Two Dinners" Goodman, a reference to his girth.[citation needed]

According to a documentary made by Richard Bond for Channel 4, The Gangster and the Pervert Peer, screened on 16 February 2009, Goodman, who never married, was one of the chief parties responsible for suppressing investigations by journalists which exposed how Lord Boothby and others were responsible for protecting the Krays from justice.[13] Official MI5 records declassified on 22 October 2015 revealed that the association between the bisexual Boothby and the Kray twins had been the subject of an MI5 investigation in 1964.[citation needed]


Coat of arms of Arnold Goodman, Baron Goodman
That of a Baron
On a cap of maintenance Gules turned up Ermine two hands couped at the wrists and clasped Proper.
Azure a chevron wavy Argent between in chief two lyres and in base a torch enflamed Proper.
Dexter a carrier pigeon, sinister a seagull, Proper about the neck of each a chain suspended therefrom a lyre Or.
Tout Comprendre C'Est Tout Pardonner (To Understand All Is To Pardon All)[14]


  • Not For the Record selected speeches and writings (1972).

Offices held[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by Chair of the Arts Council of Great Britain
Succeeded by
Academic offices
Preceded by Master of University College, Oxford
Succeeded by


  1. ^ Brivati, Brian, "Goodman, Arnold Abraham, Baron Goodman (1913-1995)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edition, October 2008. Retrieved 4 February 2018 (subscription required)
  2. ^ Brivati, Brian, "Goodman, Arnold Abraham, Baron Goodman (1913-1995)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edition, October 2008. Retrieved 4 February 2018 (subscription required)
  3. ^ Blond, Anthony (14 May 1995). "Obituary: Lord Goodman". The Independent. Retrieved 2 May 2016.
  4. ^ Lord Goodman, Brian Brivati, Richard Cohen, 1999, pp. 1-3
  5. ^ Brivati, Brian, "Goodman, Arnold Abraham, Baron Goodman (1913-1995)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edition, October 2008. Retrieved 4 February 2018 (subscription required)
  6. ^ Goodman Derrick LLP, UK.
  7. ^ "Honorary Graduates 1966 to 1988". Graduation Ceremonies. UK: University of Bath. Archived from the original on 25 May 2016. Retrieved 2 May 2016.
  8. ^ Hart-Davis, Rupert (1998) [First ed. published]. Halfway to Heaven: Concluding memoirs of a literary life. Stroud Gloucestershire: Sutton. pp. 38, 61. ISBN 0-7509-1837-3.
  9. ^ "1978: Motability gets moving in the UK". BBC News. 25 July 1978.
  10. ^ "No. 43718". The London Gazette. 20 July 1965. p. 6941.
  11. ^ "No. 45678". The London Gazette (Supplement). 3 June 1972. p. 6276.
  12. ^ Brivati, Brian (24 September 1999). "A very ordinary failure". Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  13. ^ "The Gangster and the Pervert Peer (Episode Guide)". Channel 4. 2009. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  14. ^ Debrett's Peerage. 1985.


External links[edit]