Under the overall theme of Wellbeing, our second week of the 2021 festival will focus on Identity.
11 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.
12 May 2.00pm –
Unheard Voices Online Talk
Recent times have made many of us acutely aware how some voices fail to be heard in history. For some communities, it is a struggle for our stories to be heard, captured and archived and so conversations around history can fail to consider whole groups of people whose stories tell us so much about who we all are.
For this year’s history festival, we are offering a series of talks addressing issues of gender, sexuality and race and today features Alan Butler talking about the handing down on LGBTQ+ heritage and “The Rainbow Connection”.
Please email to receive the relevant zoom link for the session.
13 May 2.00pm Environment Plymouth Heritage Conversation. Jackie Young, facilitator of the Environment Plymouth Network, provides a webinar discussing the impact of potential sea level rise and flooding on graveyards and burial sites. The session includes some interesting background on missing cholera pits, the former harbour at DHSB and Victoria Park. Also, the work done to limit damage in the City Centre and the reason why some archaeological digs now require full protective clothing. Email here to book your place and receive the zoom link.
14 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.
11 May 12.30pm
High Street Heritage Action Zone – High Street Sparks Launch
The high street has been the heart of our community for generations, but many high streets aren’t what they once were. That’s why Historic England is helping to revitalise historic high streets across the country. Working with local partners and communities they are helping transform disused and dilapidated buildings into homes, shops, work settings and community spaces, so they are thriving places for communities, businesses and locals to love. Together they are helping to breathe life back into the high street. Making vibrant places for everyone to live, work, invest and visit in the future. Over the next three years Plymouth’s High Street Heritage Action Zone will be funding projects which respond to our city centre and its wonderful heritage and this session will officially launch this scheme. Small grants of up to £2500 will be allocated to community projects which breathe life back into our city centre. They are particularly interested in work that focuses on the conservation zone but will also welcome projects that tie in the wider Plan for Plymouth.
Email to book your place.
12 May 4.00pm University of Plymouth History Department Online Research Webinar. The University of Plymouth History department meets monthly to share papers and research. As part of this year’s History Festival, they have agreed to open the May 2021 event up to all interested parties. This session is an exploration of Irish Identity with two papers: (1) ‘Modern Ireland: Politics, Memory and Identity’ from Dr Ciaran Wallace of Trinity College Dublin and Deputy Director of the Beyond 2022, ‘Beyond 2022: the creation and destruction (and re-creation) of Ireland’s Archives’ and Dr Claire Fitzpatrick of University of Plymouth talking about ‘Posting an Ideal? Identity, Culture and the Post Office in Ireland’.This event will take place via Zoom so to register and be sent the link, please email.
14 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.
11 May 6.00pm Renaissance Historical Dance Company Online Dance Premiere. The society was established in 1994 and are a Devon based historical dance group specialising in the performance of 15th, 16th, 17th and 19th century court and country dances from England and the Continent, together with crafts and social activities. Their members come from a variety of backgrounds, but all share a desire to bring history alive. Their repertoire of dance and display is carefully researched and people in the group have skills ranging from historical dress making to storytelling. The group are very happy to hear from people with an interest in history, dance or performance so we can bring the past to life for more people.This event will provide more information about the history of the company and their work, including interviews with long term members. For more information visit their facebook page
14 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.
14 May 2.00pm Online
Cosmic Storytelling Group
WonderZoo is a Plymouth-based arts collective specialising in spoken word and performance events, workshops and activities. For the month of May, their regular Cosmic Storytelling Workshop with writers Slain McGough Davey and Gabi Marcellus-Temple is on Zoom. This session will focus on historical fiction and writing techniques.
For more information visit the WonderZoo website.
15 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.
15 May 2.00pm Community Archives and Heritage Group South West – Online Launch.The Community Archives and Heritage Group (CAHG) is a national group which aims to support and promote community archives in the UK & Ireland. They bring together bodies and organisations concerned with community archives and provide a forum for the regular exchange of views and information. Over the years, the organisation has tended to be quite London or centrally focussed and, as a result, are currently running two pilots in the South West and Scotland to form regional community archive networks. This webinar will discuss the aims and objectives of the South West Network and provide practical support on running and developing a community network. This session will be run on zoom and please email to register your place and for joining instructions.
Ongoing 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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.