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Read about Plymouth's history

This month sees the return of the Plymouth History Festival, an annual celebration of Plymouth's hertitage and there's hundreds of activities taking place across the city. From talks, guided walks and behind the scenes tours, to performances, family activities, exhibitions and displays – there’s something for everybody. 

If you're interested in finding out more about Plymouth's history, your local library is a great place to start and during this month we will be highlighting a few of the resources we have available. 

Books 

Type Plymouth into our online catalogue and you'll get over 5,300 results. Books on Plymouth are some of the most popular titles borrowed from our libraries. 

We asked our local history expert, Graham Naylor to recommend his top five books on Plymouth history.  

1. History of Plymouth: from the earliest period to the present time by R. N. Worth
First published in 1871. This is a superb all-round history and one of my primary ‘go to’ books.
 
2. A history of Plymouth by Llewellyn Jewitt (once Librarian of the Plymouth Library – which is the old subscription Library – now known as the Proprietary Library), published in 1873.
 
3. A history of Plymouth and her neighbours by C. W. Bracken, published in 1931.
It’s a good and fairly pre-war history – but draws heavily on Worth and Jewitt above.
 
4. It came to our door by H. P. Twyford, first published in 1945.
This is the ‘go to’ book on learning about Plymouth during WW2, by far the best book we have on the subject.
 
5. With Plymouth through fire: a documentary narrative of 1940-1941 by Andre Savignon.
Translated from the French and published in 1968. This book is incredible – it reads as a novel but offers a unique eye-witness account of the raids on Plymouth in March 1941 and its aftermath. Profoundly moving in places this book really isn’t that well known – and should be.
 
Some of our history titles are reference only, so they will need to be read in a library, but we also have a lot you can borrow (look for the number 942.358) and we've even put together a list of Plymouth eBooks you can download. 
 
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