Local history

We keep our main collection of materials relating to Plymouth and its surrounding areas at the Central Library.

Facilities

  • Free computer access (two computers with Microfilm scanners)
  • Microform readers with printing facilities

For more information or to book computers or Microform readers email library@plymouth.gov.uk or call 01752 305902.

Books

  • Topics covered include transport, education, geology, mining, genealogy, archaeology and biography
  • Special collections include books by Eden Phillpotts, the nineteenth and twentieth century West Country novelist and poet, and Sabine Baring-Gould, Exeter-born prolific writer of novels and non-fiction covering theology, folklore, social commentary, travel and history

Periodicals

Runs of the major county historical periodicals, including:

  • Transactions of the Devonshire Association
  • Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries
  • Publications of the Devon and Cornwall Record Society
  • Local periodicals and parish magazines

Newspapers

Our local newspaper collection is on Microfilm.

Booking a Microfilm reader is essential. Email library@plymouth.gov.uk or call 01752 305902.

For details of printing costs see our charges page.

  • Plymouth Weekly Journal, 1721 to 1723
  • Sherborne Mercury, 1737 to 1867, with gaps
  • Plymouth and Dock Telegraph, 1808 to 1816
  • Plymouth Chronicle, May 1809, part 1812, 1813
  • Plymouth and Dock Telegraph and Chronicle, 1817 to 1821
  • Plymouth and Devonport Weekly Journal, 1819 to 1863
  • Plymouth and Plymouth Dock Weekly, 1821 to 1823
  • Devonshire Freeholder, 1824 to 1825
  • Plymouth Herald and Devonshire Freeholder, 1826 to 1828
  • Royal Devonport Telegraph and Plymouth Chronicle, 1828 to 1834
  • Plymouth, Devonport and Stonehouse Herald, 1831 to 860
  • Devonport Independent and Stonehouse Gazette, 1833 to 1891
  • Devonport Telegraph and Plymouth Chronicle, 1835 to 1851
  • Plymouth Times, Devonport, Stonehouse and West of England, 1842 to 1858
  • Devonport and Plymouth Telegraph, 1852 to 1863
  • Plymouth Mail, 1852 to 1862
  • Tavistock Gazette, 1857 to 1889
  • Western Morning News, 1860 to 2014
  • Western Daily Mercury, 1860 to 1921
  • Western Weekly News, 1861 to 1939
  • Thunderbolt, 1871 to 1873
  • Western Critic, October to December 1871
  • Western Evening Herald, 1895 to present day
  • Plympton Times and South Hams Advertiser, January to February 1898
  • Plympton Gazette, 1907 to 1912
  • Plympton District Times, 1921 to 1927
  • Plympton and South Devon Times, 1927 to 1930
  • South Devon Times, 1930 to 1950
  • Sunday Independent, 1986 to 2010

Some newspapers, including the Western Morning News and the Western Evening Herald are indexed on card; indexes from 2000 are available on the online catalogue and on Newsbank from 2008.

You can access the British Newspaper Archive in all libraries.

Maps

  • Ordnance Survey county series in Second and Third Editions for most of south and west Devon in 6" and 25" scales
  • County series 1:500 for Plymouth in the 1890s: 1st edition on microfiche
  • Historical maps for Plymouth, Devon and Cornwall
  • Reproductions of early Plymouth maps, from 1643 to 1939

Images and illustrations

  • Photographs and engravings of Plymouth and the surrounding area

Images have been catalogued and digitised by Plymouth Archives, The Box.