Under the overall theme of Wellbeing, our first events of the 2021 festival will focus on community.
7 May – Online Content
Welcome to the History Festival
Paul Brookes shares an online welcome to the History Festival
7 May 6.00pm – Zoom Online
Friday Night Pub Quiz
One of the aspects of last year’s festival that enabled everyone to show how much
they knew (or didn’t) about local history was a quiz running through the festival. This year
we are excited to hand this over to an intrepid bunch of students, studying history and
heritage at University of Plymouth, and join them for a Friday night virtual pub quiz.
Come along and join the fun and win prizes from The Box. Please email for the zoom link.
8 May – 10am Local Studies Day Online Zoom Webinar
With Local Studies Day not being able to be held as a physical event this year, this online webinar provides an opportunity for members of the POP Community Heritage Network to come together to celebrate and share the work that has gone on over the last 12 months in a world of lockdown and social distancing while looking ahead to what’s next. To book your place, please send an email here.
7 May – Zoom Session at 1.30pm with the POP Heritage Network
Come and join the weekly online sessions of the Plymouth Octopus Project Hertitage network. Hear about the work that our members are involved in and join conversations about what’s next for the world of local heritage as we move out of lockdown and consider what next. Come and join the weekly online sessions of the Plymouth Octopus Project Heritage Network sessions. Hear about the work that our members and member groups are involved in and join conversations about what’s next for the world of local heritage as we move out of lockdown and consider what next. To book a place, please email here
and you’ll be sent the zoom link.
7 May – Zoom Online Session
Respect Festival Workshop
This May, Plymouth’s spoken word, arts, and performance platform WonderZoo will be seizing the opportunity to get involved with the History Festival with both hands! This is one of a series of creative workshops for schools and other organisations examining the formation of identity and how to tell your own story, using writing, visual art and dance to explore ten minority figures from Plymouth’s history. Local historian Karen Moore has researched a group of people whose stories need to retold and WonderZoo will be working in conjunction with the Respect Festival, which will take place online on 5th June and feature these remarkable stories.
For more information visit the WonderZoo website .
7 May – Zoom Talk at 10.30am
“The enigmatic John Marshall: Founder of Plymouth emigration depot, Baltic Wharf” brought to you by the Plymouth Historical Association
A talk by Dr Liz Rushen of Monash University. Please note, a recorded version of this talk will be available from Tuesday May 11 (7 p.m.). To book your place for these talks and receive the zoom link for the session, please vist here
8 May – Zoom Talk at 2.30pm
Devon Family History Society present an online talk “Parish Rates for Family Historians 1500-1650” by Dr Todd Gray
Email here and put put Plymouth History Festival in the Subject Box, then add details of the talk(s) you wish to attend in your message.
8 May – 11.00am Tamar Crossings – Guided Talk about the Tamar Bridge. Join a guided talk about the award-winning Tamar Bridge. You will also get a great view of Brunel’s masterpiece in bridge engineering, the Royal Albert Bridge, as well as insight into its construction. The tour is limited to a maximum of 5 people plus the guide, and booking is essential. For more information and to book go here.
8th and 9th May – Virtual Pirates Weekend Listen up m’hearties! Plymouth Waterfront Partnership have an exciting virtual line-up of pirate entertainment for you over the weekend of the 8 & 9 May. There are lots of pirate-themed activities for the whole family to enjoy, including: children’s quizzes, pirate party ideas, cocktail making demos, foodie treats, walking trails to find the diamond treasure! Plus, a pirate craft video by the National Marine Aquarium, and much more. For more information go here and there’s a special talk, recorded by Dr Elaine Murphy, Associate Professor of Maritime History at the University of Plymouth available to listen to here.
Online Events taking place throughout the Festival
Online Wellbeing Conversations around exhibits and spaces in The Box
As The Box reopens, during the festival, we focus on there special places. Each one provides some additional perspective, from people directly involved in the exhibits, with a view to providing visitors with some additional background to their design but also with an invitation to consider their own identities and wellbeing in terms of their own heritage.
Lesbian Voices of Plymouth Trail. Lesbian Voices of Plymouth is a National Lottery Heritage Fund and Vital Sparks funded project to capture and archive the lesbian voices of Plymouth both past and present. As part of the History Festival, why not undertake the virtual walk that was created as part of this project? You can have a wander around the wonder of Plymouth’s historic waterfront whilst listening to excerpts from the LVoP interviews … and you don’t even need to leave your seat if you don’t want to! Visit the Lesbian Voices website to access the virtual walk.
A History of sport and leisure in Central Park Virtual Walk. An opportunity to explore the history of Central Park through the sports and recreational activities that have taken place there through the years. The walk can be accessed here.
“Celebrating Sporting Life and Achievement in Plymouth” – an exhibition of posters and a supporting audio/ virtual tour from Ford Park Cemetery.
At a time when sporting activities and spectator sports are unavailable, to most of the public, Ford Park Cemetery offers an on-line exhibition and audio tour celebrating the sporting life and achievements in Plymouth. As well as the more obvious sports of football and rugby, posters include a celebration of horse racing at Chelson Meadow, greyhound racing and speedway at the old Pennycross Stadium plus memories of the swimming clubs, sailing clubs and cycling clubs across the city. The audio tour includes visits to some of the city’s sporting heroes including rugby player Jimmy Peters.
Booking – The exhibition will be available via the trust’s Facebook page – plus a display on the cemetery web site.
Plymouth Synagogue and Ripple Theatre (1) Plymouth Cemetery Audio Trail and (2) Gifford Place Audio Trail Trail 1 – The Old Jewish Cemetery Audio Trail. Located on Plymouth’s historic Hoe, in the shadow of The Citadel, lies a hidden secret: The Old Jewish Cemetery. Contained within high stone walls it has always remained hidden from public view. The only clue to its existence…an insignificant door. In 2016 that door was opened and for the first time in its history the general public were given the opportunity to take a look inside. With the aid of funding from Vital Sparks and the Drake Foundation an audio trail was created in the garden cemetery, bringing to life the lives of those buried within this hidden gem. In 1740 this plot was a family garden; today it is a calm oasis that hides a wealth of history and culture. In light of the current pandemic and knowing that the old Jewish cemetery on Plymouth Hoe will not be open for some time the audio trail has been re-edited and can be accessed from the Ripple Theatre website. Trail 2 – A new audio from the people who created the popular Jewish Cemetery audio trail. Talking to families with ancestors buried in the Gifford Place Cemetery we are using these oral histories to create a new cemetery trail. Told by the families themselves, creating a sharing from one culture to another. Further information about these trails can be found here and the audios accessed here and the audios accessed here.
Finding Yourself in the Archive – An Online Exhibition by University of St Mark and St John. The University was originally two separate Colleges which were situated in London – St. John’s College in Battersea and St. Mark’s College in Chelsea. The present University Archives document and reflect Marjon’s history. The collection includes student registers, committee minutes, textbooks and exam papers, plans and photographs, student reminiscences and memorabilia, as well as newer forms of media. This exhibition will share images and experiences of the archive volunteers who took part in a social-prescribing archive-based project called the “Connected Catalogue”. Weblink to follow.
Family History Helpdesk Online. As part of this year’s History Festival, the Devon Family History Society are offering one to one Tree House Help Desk sessions throughout the duration of the festival. The Tree House research centre has a wealth of information and resources along with experienced, friendly volunteers on hand to help and guide you. Whether you’re just starting out in family history or you’ve hit a brick wall and don’t know how to break it, the Tree House could open new pathways to the past. Your reward could be a realistic and meaningful discovery of your ancestors. To arrange a one-to-one Treehouse session, email and put Plymouth History Festival in the Subject Box, with brief details of your query in your message. A volunteer will email you with a suggested date and time.
The Devonport Heritage Trail is going live on the Plymouth Trails app on Friday 7th May to mark the start of Plymouth History Festival 2021.The 4.5 mile route is an updated version of the hugely popular trail that has guided people around Devonport since 2011. Now, thanks to Real Ideas Organisation, the walking trail has been digitised and users will be guided along the route in the easy-to-use app.The Devonport Heritage Trail links historic and cultural points of interest in Devonport. It is a great way to explore the local area, once an important town in its own right. The trail will take you through Mount Wise, to the Guildhall and soon-to-open Devonport Market Hall (both run by Real Ideas). The Market Hall was formerly the market for the whole of Devonport, but has now been renovated to create a space that combines traditional elements with state-of-the-art technology including a 15m diameter dome which will allow you to explore immersive realities, without the need for a VR headset. From here, the trail also takes in North Corner and Devonport Park. The original trail was created by Plymouth City Council, Devonport Regeneration Community Partnership, local artist and historians, and the City Museum (now The Box). The trail has been updated by Visit Plymouth and contains more fantastic archival images from The Box collections. The Devonport Heritage Trail is the 9th trail to be added to the app, alongside the Mayflower Trail, Waterfront Walkway and Rainbow Connections Trail.You can download the Plymouth Trails app for free from the AppStore or PlayStore. For more information, including accessibility, head here.