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Arnold Goodman


Arnold Goodman

Arnold Abraham Goodman, Baron Goodman, CH, (21 August 1915 – 12 May 1995) was a British lawyer and political advisor.


Lord Goodman was educated at University College London and Downing College, Cambridge. He became a leading London lawyer as Senior Partner in the law firm Goodman, Derrick & Co (now Goodman Derrick LLP). He was solicitor and advisor to politicians such as Harold Wilson.

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. He was awarded an Honorary Degree (Doctor of Laws) by the University of Bath in 1976.[1]

Publisher Rupert Hart-Davis was a client when Goodman was a partner in Rubenstein Nash; Goodman reached an agreement with Churchill and 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".[2]

In 1977, he founded the Motability scheme for disabled motorists.[3]

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. Harold Wilson (by then Lord Wilson of Rievaulx), Honorary Fellow of University College since 1963, died only twelve days later on 24 May.

He was created a life peer as Baron Goodman, of the City of Westminster in 1965[4] and Companion of Honour in 1972.[5]


  • After his 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. However, Lord Portman did not verify his claim.
  • 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.
  • According to a documentary made by Richard Bond for Channel 4, The Gangster and the Pervert Peer, screened on 16 February 2009, Goodman 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.
  • He was a Fellow of the [1]


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

Offices held

Government offices
Preceded by
Lord Cottesloe
Chair of the Arts Council of Great Britain
Succeeded by
Lord Gibson
Academic offices
Preceded by
John Redcliffe-Maud
Master of University College, Oxford
Succeeded by
Kingman Brewster


  • The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (includes photo)
  • Goodman's biography at Eugenics Watch
  • Goodman's obituary in the Independent
  • Goodman's obituary in the Galton Institute
  • Criticism of Goodman
  • Goodman's NY Times obituary
  • Goodman allegations
  • Goodman commentary

External links

  • British Council
  • Daily Telegraph obituary
  • Lucian Freud
  • Brian Brivati
  • Conversations with Lord Goodman

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