Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: October 29, 2017.
Webpage updated: May 17, 2019

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Messrs R Cundy & Sons, later known as Messrs Trafalgar Dairies Ltd, were located at 34 Trafalgar Place, Trafalgar Road, Stoke, Devonport, both before and after the Second World War.

Messrs R Cundy & Sons

Mr Robert Cundy was a dairyman and cow keeper at Devonport and at the time of the 1841 census was living at Tavistock Street, Stoke, Devonport, with Mr John Sleeman and Mr John Tucker, both agricultural labourers, and their families.  Although Mr Cundy was aged only 20, he headed the list of occupiers not either of the two much older men.

A Trafalgar Dairies advert from the 1950s.

On October 7th 1841 Mr Robert Cundy married Miss Eliza Chapple, of North Huish, near South Brent, at Plymouth's Saint Andrew's Church.

At the time of the 1851 census they were living at 11 Fore Street, Devonport, and had three children: Thomas R Cundy, aged 8; Mary S Cundy, aged 2; and Robert W I Cundy, aged just 7 months  [3].  Richard Chapple Cundy was born at North Huish in 1855, although he later declared himself as having been born in Stoke Damerel.

Twenty years later Robert and Elizabeth were still living in Fore Street, Devonport, and were being assisted in the business by sons Robert and Richard, then aged 20 and 15 respectively, and their 15-years-old daughter, Elizabeth.  Eliza's brother, Mr Robert E Chapple, was also an assistant dairyman with them.

By 1881 Mr Robert E Cundy had married and left to set up his own business dairy farming at Highenden Farm, Common Wood, Eggbuckland.  His position in the firm was taken by Mr William J Cundy, Robert senior's youngest son.

Mr Richard Chapple Cundy married Miss Louisa Jane Richards at Stoke Damerel Parish Church on April 3rd 1884.  By 1890 the business had moved to 35 Portland Road, Devonport, on the corner with Trafalgar Place.  It was a well-filled household.  The 1891 census shows that in addition to Richard Chapple and Louisa Jane Cundy there were two sons, Richard George Cundy and Henry Francis Cundy; a daughter, 6-years-old Bessie Elizabeth Cundy; the father-in-law, Mr George Richards, a widower; a niece, Miss Annie G Mortimer, from Aberdeen, who was a draper's assistant; a boarder by the name of Miss Elizabeth Bate, music assistant, from Liverpool; and two domestic servants, Miss Julia Bowden and Miss Alice Williams, both Cornish.

By this time the family were running their extensive dairy herd over much of the land at Pennycross, Torr, and Manadon, along with the fields that were later to become Central Park.  Indeed, Richard's younger brother, Mr William John Chapple Cundy got married at the Anglican Church of Saint Pancras, Pennycross, on February 4th 1907 to Miss Sarah Elizabeth Clark.

In 1921 much of the land at Pennycross was about to be sold off for housing and plans were already being discussed for a centrally placed park so the family took the whole herd of some 100 South Devon cattle up to Crownhill and down along the Forder Valley Road to Great Woodford Farm at Plympton St Mary, where it was re-established.  They also owned extensive land all over the South Hams.

Mr Richard Chapple Cundy died on Wednesday March 6th 1935 at his home, Monteray, Horrabridge.  The funeral service took place at Pennycross Church on Saturday March 9th 1935.  During his life he had been a well known personality at all the South Devon markets and agricultural shows particularly as a judge of the cattle and horses.  In his younger days he hunted with the Dartmoor Foxhounds.   He was also a member of the Boards of Guardians for both Devonport and Plympton.  He left two sons, Mr Richard George and Mr Henry Francis Cundy, who both continued the business, and one daughter, Bessie Eleanor, otherwise Mrs Charles Richard Tregillus.

The Cundy's had stables for their delivery horses on the north-western side of the Devonport Column, where the children's play area was later constructed.  During the Second World War the stableman was a Mr Piper, who lived in James Street.

Trafalgar Dairies Ltd

Exactly when the name of Trafalgar Dairies was adopted is not known.  There is no reference to it before the Second World War but the premises at Trafalgar Place carried the name in stonework on the side of the building facing the main Tavistock Road.  It still does.

Mr Richard George Cundy died at 7 Saint Margaret's Road, Woodford, Plymouth, on December 30th 1948.

Mr Henry Francis Cundy died at Lower Lodge, Newnham, Plympton, on March 19th 1973.  Like his brother, he was buried at the Drake Memorial Park, Plymstock.   Henry had taken part in many National Hunt meetings and was a member of the Royal Western Yacht Club of England.  He was survived by three sons, Peter, David and Paul.

At some point before 1955 Trafalgar Dairies took over Messrs XL Dairies of Gascoyne Place, Plymouth.

Ever since about 1944 Messrs Cow & Gate Ltd had apparently owned a substantial share in Trafalgar Dairies.  As from Monday April 3rd 1954 Messrs Cow & Gate Ltd took over the Three Towns Dairies Ltd and merged it with Trafalgar Dairies to form a new business which they named Plymouth Dairies Ltd.

They appointed a Mr Leslie Thorpe as the local director and general manager.  He owned a large thatched cottage at Plympton and the senior executives would attend there when the chairman of Messrs Cow and Gate, Colonel Gates, did his tour of inspection.  Mr Denis Kendall, an assistant accountant at the time, recalled in 2008 how the flags were hoisted in his honour, which no doubt did much to boost his ego whenever he visited Plymouth.  He was apparently the inspiration for the phrase "Hi-de-hi" as during the Second World War he required all troops under his command to say that when they saluted him and he would reply "Ho-de-ho".  After he was discharged from the army he became the butt of many a comedian's humour.

In 1959 Messrs Cow and Gate Ltd amalgamated with Messrs United Dairies Ltd and became Unigate.