The War in Plymouth
The War In Plymouth:
Destruction And A New Beginning
A Heritage Lottery project.
In April 2013 we were awarded a Heritage Lottery Grant to develop a three-year oral history project entitled The War in Plymouth: Destruction and a New Beginning.
This project has now been completed, and we have held several exhibitions in Plymouth allowing residents to get a flavour of the interviews.
If you would like to listen to any of the interviews in full, they are all now stored at the Plymouth and West Devon Record Office. Click on their website here to find out how to make an appointment.
We have already produced a summary project book which has 376 pages, over 50 colour photographs, and we are selling it ourselves on the Amazon site here. Alternatively, you can send a cheque made out to The Word Machine CIC in the sum of £11.79 to our distributors at The Word Machine, 20 Pennington Court, 40 The Highway, London E1W 2SD and they will post you one. Or you can also buy copies from Chris Robinson’s shop on the Barbican: 34 New Street, The Barbican, Plymouth PL1 2NA. If you’re at Whitsand Bay, the book is on sale at the Heritage Centre at Whitsand Bay Holiday Park. Any other queries about getting hold of a copy, please email us via the Contact page on this website.
We are maintaining the project’s Facebook page, so do please feel free to continue to contribute to that here.
Over the life of the project, we met and made friends with some truly remarkable people, many of whom we remain in touch with. We would like to thank all the participants, contributors and volunteers who made this such a genuine and heartfelt experience.
During the terrible Blitz on Plymouth during the Second World War, over 4,000 homes were destroyed. The City’s response, encapsulated in the Abercrombie Plan, was dynamic, and over the course of ten years between 1945 and 1955, over 17,000 new homes and 24 new schools were built, creating new neighbourhoods such as Southway and Efford.
This project, working in association with the History Department at Plymouth University under the guidance of Professor Kevin Jefferys, gathered as many interviews as possible with Plymouth people who remembered the war years and the years of social housing. Going out into people’s homes, we recorded and preserved these memories.
We worked with members of the community in Plymouth who joined the project in a number of ways – either as an interviewer or as an interviewee or as a voluntary transcriber The project is entirely shaped by the perspective of the people of Plymouth: what was their experience of war, and how did the city emerge from it into a new era?
We worked with Fotonow, the Plymouth-based photographic social enterprise, who enabled Plymouth people to produce a photographic record of our interviewees to sit alongside the oral history recordings.
The project worked closely with Plymouth University, local historian Chris Robinson, Plymouth and West Devon Record Office, Plymouth Museum. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.