Plymouth History Festival 2020 – Week One Summary

Thank you so much to everyone who was involved in this year’s unique Plymouth History Festival. The team were delighted to receive your comments, queries and contributions throughout the month of May, and we’ll be leaving this site up as a go-to resource for local history for months to come.

If you have any feedback you’d like us to include in our evaluation of this year’s festival we’d love to hear it – just pop us an email before Sunday 28th June or comment on this post. In the meantime, here’s a reminder of the first week of the Festival in case you missed any of the topics featured between 8 and 15 May 2020.

Week One

The festival started on VE Day, and we were lucky enough to work with Plymouth City Council to share their digital alternatives for the planned commemorations on Plymouth Hoe, as well as offering our own VE Day content.

Photograph showing foreign sailors (possibly Polish) marching in a VE Day parade, 1945

This led into Pirate’s Weekend, another collaboration with a longstanding local celebration. In the days that followed we celebrated the anniversary of the launch of the Beagle with articles about Charles Darwin, and spent Florence Nightingale’s birthday examining figures and policies that have contributed to Plymouth’s health (or sometimes lack thereof!) throughout history. Examining the NHS struck a particular note considering the challenges that the City was and is still facing in Covid 19.

Other topics in Week 1 included Plymouth’s links with Antarctica (including the adventures of Scott and Shackleton) and several important profiles relating to the city’s LGBT+ history. A few Week 1 highlights were picked by the team to show off the wide range of contributors who helped us to make this year’s Festival so special.

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