In November 2008, an open letter was sent from the Chairmen of Devon Family History Society and the Friends of Devon's Archives to Plymouth City Council and signed by a coalition of 42 Plymouth, Devon and Cornwall County heritage societies and prominent private individuals. It expressed concern regarding the Plymouth & West Devon Record Office building in Plymouth, which has been designated fundamentally unsuitable by the National Archives and the Historical Manuscripts Commission.
The current building was opened in 1982 as a temporary measure and if the service continues to fall short of the prescribed national standard, certain classes of archives will be removed from Plymouth and housed elsewhere in the country.
Public meetings were held in November 2008 and January 2009 in Plymouth. At the January meeting, the leader of the Plymouth City Council stated that a replacement building was the second priority of the council. News is still awaited of any firm action to support this pledge.
However, during that time the Plymouth City Archivist has resigned and moved to another county. As yet, the post is unfilled.
Plymouth City Council needs to state publicly how it intends to adequately provide for Plymouth’s ancient heritage.
Another public meeting to discuss developments in the campaign to support the PWDRO will be held on 27 November at 2.15 in the Spurgeon Hall, Mutley Baptist Church, Mutley Plain, Plymouth PL4 6LB.
Anyone interested in the archives provision for Plymouth and West Devon is welcome to attend or send responses/comments to use at the meeting to email@example.com.
Maureen Selley, Chairman, Devon Family History Society
Dr Todd Gray, Chairman, Friends of Devon’s Archives
You can read more in several newspaper reports:
November 2008 meeting: http://www.thisisexeter.co.uk/news/RECORD-FAILURE/article-507310-detail/article.html
January 2009 meeting: http://www.thisisplymouth.co.uk/news/Historians-attack-council-records-care/article-605454-detail/article.html