Sunday 20 May 2012

Olympic torch route - Day 2 Plymouth

Plymouth, a seaport, municipal and parliamentary borough 9returning two members), situated on the Sound of the same name in the extreme S.W. of Devonshire, England. With Devonport and Stonehouse it forms "The Three Towns". The Sound, protected by the famous breakwater, affords anchorage for the whole navy of England. Mill Bay, where the Great Western Docks are placed, and Sutton Pool accommodate many mercantile ships, and are divided by the leafy promontory known as the Hoe, where stands Smeaton's reconstructed lighthouse and Boehm's statue of Drake. The Government Dockyard in Devonport with Keyham factory and the arsenal make up one of the most complete naval establishments in the world. The church of St Andrew, dating from 1430 and restored in 1874, is the only remnant of antiquity. There are but few local manufactures except sail-cloth, rope, biscuits, soap and gin;but a large foreign coasting trade is carried on, the exports being chiefly minerals, ores and marble. Plymouth is an important centre of traffic for goods and passengers. The names of the explorers Cockeram, Gilbert, Hawkins and Drake will for ever be associated with the place.
From Cassell's Encyclopedia; a Storehouse of General Information (undated, but apparently early 1900s)

War memorial at Plymouth Hoe
Plymouth was badly damaged by bombing during the Second World War and contains a number of war memorials to the fallen in both World Wars and other conflicts. The Poor Law Union and registration district contained several parishes in the diocese of Exeter. Digitised and indexed parish registers for Plymouth have recently been released on These and other records are held at the Plymouth and West Devon Record Office

There is a good deal of genealogical and historical information, and links to useful websites about Plymouth on its GENUKI page.  There are population statistics and maps of Plymouth on Vision of Britain, and historic photographs on the English Heritage Archives site.



  1. I enjoyed this post! It is always fun to read about Plymouth in England since I am a descendant of so many Mayflower passengers. About 15 years ago the Olympic torch passed through our hometown, and we were on the sidewalk cheering. I hope you have a lovely Olympiad this summer.

  2. A large number of my ancestors, on my dad's side, came from the Plymouth area, specifically Devonport, Stonehouse and Plympton (a small village a bit further out). Many of them worked in occupations associated with the Devonport Dockyard, as sailmakers, carpenters or simply sailors, of various degrees of seniority.

    I actually purchased the CD called The Three Towns (Plymouth, Devonport and Sonehouse), which I found invaluable, although it is only transcripts. But now I see that these are on FindMyPAst, together with the actual images, so I should really go back and look at all the originals!

    Thanks for the reminder!

  3. Your Olympic Torch Route blogs have are all fascinating and informative re: my interest in your History and living so far away in South Australia. This blog on Hampshire is especially exciting because I've recently discovered that so many of my Crout rellies, over a number of generations, were seafarers from Portsmouth, Portsea Island etc.. Thanks so much... I'm off to "Find My Past" now to make good use of my subscription :-)