An overview and history of the city of Plymouth
An overview and history of the city of Plymouth
Plymouth is on the south coast of Devon, England, about 37 miles (60 km) south-west of Exeter and 190 miles (310 km) west-south-west of London, between the mouths of the rivers Plym to the east and Tamar to the west where they join Plymouth Sound to form the boundary with Cornwall.
Plymouth's early history extends to the Bronze Age, when a first settlement emerged at Mount Batten. This settlement continued as a trading post for the Roman Empire, until it was surpassed by the more prosperous village of Sutton, now called Plymouth. In 1620, the Pilgrim Fathers departed Plymouth for the New World and established Plymouth Colony – the second English settlement in what is now the United States of America. During the English Civil War the town was held by the Parlimentarians and was besieged between 1642 and 1646.
Throughout the Industrial Revolution, Plymouth grew as a commercial shipping port, handling imports and passengers from the Americas, and exporting local minerals (tin copper, lime, china clay and arsenic) while the neighbouring town of Devonport became a strategic Royal Naval shipbuilding and dockyard town. In 1914 three neighbouring independent towns, the county borough of Plymouth, the county borough of Devonport, and the urban district of East Stonehouse were merged to form a single County Borough. The combined town took the name of Plymouth which, in 1928, achieved city status. The city's naval importance later led to its targeting and partial destruction during World War II, an act known as the Plymouth Blitz. After the war the city centre was completely rebuilt and subsequent expansion led to the incorporation of Plympton and Plymstock along with other outlying suburbs in 1967.
The city is home to 261,546 (mid-2014 est.) people, making it the 30th most populous built-up area in the United Kingdom. It is governed locally by Plymouth City Council and is represented nationally by three MPs. Plymouth's economy remains strongly influenced by shipbuilding and seafaring including ferry links to Brittany (Roscoff and St Malo) and Spain (Santander), but has tended toward a service-based economy since the 1990s. It has the largest operational naval base in Western Europe – HMNB Devonport and is home to Plymouth University.
Devonport, formerly named Plymouth Dock or just Dock, is a district of Plymouth in the English county of Devon, although it was, at one time, the more important settlement. It became a county borough in 1889. Devonport was originally one of the "Three Towns" (along with Plymouth and East Stonehouse); these merged in 1914 to form what would become in 1928 the City of Plymouth. It is represented in the Parliament of The United Kingdom as part of the Plymouth Sutton and Devonport constituency. Its elected Member of Parliament (MP)is Oliver Colvile, who is affiliated with the Conservative Party. The population of the ward at the 2011 census was 14,788.
In 1690 the Admiralty gave a contract to Robert Waters from Portsmouth to build a stone dock at Point Froward on the east bank of theHamoaze at the mouth of the River Tamar. Plymouth Dock, as Devonport was originally called, began around 1700 as a small settlement to house workers employed on the new naval base that was being built around Waters' dock. By 1733 its population had grown to around 3,000, and by 1801 it was already larger than both the nearby towns of Plymouth and Stonehouse together.
By 1811 the population of Plymouth Dock was just over 30,000 and the residents resented the fact that its name made it sound like an adjunct of Plymouth. In 1823 a petition to King George IV requested the town should be renamed, and suggested "Devonport". The king agreed, and to celebrate, the town built a column next to the recently completed town hall; both were designed by John Foulston.Devonport was first incorporated as a municipal borough in 1837 under the Municipal Corporations Act 1835.
In July, 1849, the first outbreaks in what became a cholera epidemic arose on Union Street which connected Plymouth to Devonport, and were initially attributed to blockage of several house drains during construction of a new Millbay railway station. Devonport became acounty borough under the Local Government Act 1888.
During the millennium decade, Devonport received government New Deal for Communities funding of £48.7 million; this enabled an extensive Regeneration programme to be carried out. Since 2009, the investments have begun to transform Devonport – physically, socially, demographically. Where once the area was run-down, depressed, and classified as 'deprived' in many categories, the 21st-century Devonport is beginning to achieve the city’s vision of … "The recreation of Devonport as a distinct place in modern Plymouth; a vibrant self sustaining community; a place of real quality, variety and interest, the pride of residents, attractive to visitors and a model of 21st Century living, working and playing."
The Admiralty's release of several land plots in Devonport has assisted the Regeneration project. One ex-MoD area, where new homes will be available from 2011, is the Admiralty House site at Mount Wise. Although there are pockets of regeneration work remaining to be completed, the waterfront district of Devonport is becoming one of the desired residential areas of the city of Plymouth.
In 2011, the Devonport Heritage Trail was introduced, complete with over 70 waymarkers outlining the route.
Devonport has its own shopping street, a railway station, a swimming pool, and a park and a sports ground, The Brickfields. Since 2003, it has been the home of Plymouth Albion, the city'sRugby Union club located near Plymouth City College.
UTC Plymouth is a university technical college (UTC) which opened in September 2013 near Devonport Park. The UTC is situated on the former site of Parkside Community College,which closed in August 2008 due to falling enrolment. The Torpoint Ferry service across the Hamoaze (River Tamar) operates from Devonport to Cornwall.
Devonport Naval base/Dockyard has, over the years, been known as "Guz" by naval ratings. There are various explanations for the nickname: the Royal Naval Museum says it is short forGuzzle and refers to Devon cream teas.