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Plymouth ( ) is a city and unitary authority area on the coast of Devonmarker, England, about south west of Londonmarker. It is built between the mouths of the rivers Plymmarker to the east and Tamar to the west, where they join Plymouth Soundmarker. Since 1967 the unitary authority of Plymouth has included the suburbs of Plymptonmarker and Plymstockmarker, which are on the east side of the River Plym.

Plymouth's history goes back to the Bronze Age, when its first settlement grew at Mount Battenmarker. This settlement continued to grow as a trading post for the Roman Empire, until the more prosperous village of Sutton, the current Plymouth, surpassed it. In 1620 the Pilgrim Fathers left 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 Parliamentarians and was besieged between 1642 and 1646.

Throughout the Industrial Revolution Plymouth grew as a major shipping port, handling imports and passengers from the Americas and the construction of ships for the Royal Navy. The county boroughs of Plymouth and Devonportmarker, and the urban district of East Stonehousemarker were merged to form a single county borough of Plymouth collectively referred to as The Three Townsmarker. 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.

Today the city is home to over 250,000 people, making it the 15th most populous city in England. It is governed localy by Plymouth City Council and is represented nationally by three MPs. Plymouth's economy is still strongly influenced by shipbuilding, but has become a more service-based economy since the 1990s. It has the 11th largest university in the United Kingdom by number of students, the University of Plymouthmarker, and the largest operational naval base in Western Europe — HMNB Devonportmarker. Plymouth has ferry links to France and Spain and an airport with European services.


Early history

Upper Palaeolithic deposits, including bones of Homo sapiens, have been found in local caves, and artifacts dating from the Bronze Age to the Middle Iron Age have been found at Mount Battenmarker showing that it was one of the main trading ports of the country at that time. The settlement of Plymptonmarker, further up the River Plymmarker than the current Plymouth, was also an early trading port, but the river silted up in the early 11th century and forced the mariners and merchants to settle at the current day Barbicanmarker near the river mouth. At the time this village was called Sutton, meaning south town in Old English. The name Plymouth, meaning "mouth of the River Plym" — the river name being a back-formation from Plympton ("Plum-tree town"), was first mentioned in a Pipe Roll of 1211.

Early defence and Renaissance

A sketch of Plymouth circa.
During the Hundred Years' War a French attack (1340) burned a manor house and took some prisoners, but failed to get into the town. In 1403 the town was burned by Breton raiders. A series of fortifications were built in the Tudor and Elizabethan eras, which include the four round towers featured on the city coat of arms; the remains of two of these can still be found at Mount Battenmarker and at Sutton Pool below the Royal Citadelmarker.

During the 16th century locally produced wool was the major export commodity. Plymouth was the home port for successful maritime traders, among them Sir John Hawkins, who led England's first foray into the Atlantic slave trade, as well as Sir Francis Drake. According to legend, Drake insisted on completing his game of bowls on the Hoemarker before engaging the Spanish Armada in 1588. In 1620 the Pilgrim Fathers set sail for the New World from Plymouth, establishing Plymouth Colony — the second English colony in what is now the United States of America.

During the English Civil War Plymouth sided with the Parliamentarian and was besieged for almost four years by the Royalists. The last major attack by the Royalist was by Sir Richard Grenville leading thousands of soldiers towards Plymouth, but they were defeated by the Plymothians. The civil war ended as a Parliamentary win, but monarchy was restored by King Charles II in 1660, who imprisoned many of the Parliamentary heroes on Drake's Islandmarker. Construction of the Royal Citadel began in 1665, after the Restoration; it was armed with cannon facing both out to sea and into the town, rumoured to be a reminder to residents not to oppose the Crown.

Naval power, docks and Foulston

Throughout the 17th century Plymouth had gradually lost its pre-eminence as a trading port. By the mid-1600s commodities manufactured elsewhere in England cost too much to transport to Plymouth and the city had no means of processing sugar or tobacco imports, although it played a relatively small part in the Atlantic slave trade during the early 1700s. In 1690 the first dockyard, HMNB Devonportmarker, opened on the banks of the Tamar and further docks were built in 1727, 1762 and 1793. In the 18th century new houses were built near the dock, called Plymouth Dock at the time, and a new town grew up. In 1712 there were 318 men employed and by 1733 it had grown to a population of 3,000 people.

Prior to the latter half of the 18th century grain, timber and then coal were the greatest imports. During this time the real source of wealth and the major employer in the region became the dockyard. The Three Townsmarker conurbation of Plymouth, Stonehousemarker and Devonportmarker enjoyed some prosperity during the late 18th and early 19th century and were enriched by a series of neo-classical urban developments designed by London architect John Foulston. Foulston was important for the town and was responsible for several grand public buildings, many now destroyed, including the Athenaeum, the Theatre Royalmarker and Royal Hotel, and much of Union Streetmarker. Some of the greatest imports to Plymouth from the Americas and Europe during the latter half of the 19th century included maize, wheat, barley, sugar cane, guano, sodium nitrate and phosphate. Aside from the dockyard, other industries such as the gasworks, the railways and tramways and a number of small chemical works had begun to develop in the 19th century continuing into the 20th century.

Twentieth century

Union Street before World War Two shows trams
The city was heavily bombed by the Germans during World War II in a series of 59 raids known as the Plymouth Blitz. Although the dockyardsmarker were the principal targets, much of the city centre and over 3,700 houses were completely destroyed and more than 1,000 civilians lost their lives. The redevelopment of the city was planned by Sir Patrick Abercrombie in 1943 and by 1964 over 20,000 new homes had been built. Most of the shops had been destroyed and those that remained were cleared to enable a zoned reconstruction according to his plan. Charles Churchmarker was hit by incendiary bombs and partially destroyed in 1941 during the Blitz, but has not been demolished, as it is now an official permanent monument to the bombing of Plymouth during World War II. Devonport Dockyard was kept busy refitting aircraft carriers such as the Ark Royal. By the time this work ended in the late 1970s the nuclear submarine base was operational. The army had substantially left the city by 1971, with barracks pulled down in the 1960s, however the city has become home to the 42 Commando of the Royal Marines.


Local government history

The first record of the existence of a settlement at Plymouth was in the Domesday Book in 1086 as Sudtone, Saxon for south farm, located at the present day Barbicanmarker. In 1254 it gained status as a town and in 1439, became the first town in England to be granted a Charter by Parliament. Between 1439 and 1934, Plymouth was governed by a Mayor. In 1914 the county boroughs of Plymouth and Devonportmarker, and the urban district of East Stonehousemarker merged to form a single county borough of Plymouth. Collectively they were referred to as "The Three Townsmarker". Plymouth was granted city status on 18 October 1928. The city's first Lord Mayor was appointed in 1935 and its boundaries further expanded in 1967 to include the town of Plymptonmarker and the parish of Plymstockmarker.

The 1971 Local Government White Paper proposed abolishing county boroughs, which would have left Plymouth, a town of 250,000 people, being administered from a council based at the smaller Exetermarker, on the other side of the county. This led to Plymouth lobbying for the creation of a Tamarside county, to include Plymouth, Torpointmarker, Saltashmarker, and the rural hinterland. The campaign was not successful, and Plymouth ceased to be a county borough on 1 April 1974 with responsibility for education, social services, highways and libraries transferred to Devon County Council. All powers returned when the city become a unitary authority on 1 April 1998 under recommendations of the Banham Commission.

In the Parliament of the United Kingdommarker, Plymouth is represented by the three constituencies of Plymouth Devonportmarker, Plymouth Suttonmarker and South West Devonmarker and within the European Parliamentmarker as South West England. In the 2005 General Election, Devonport and Sutton were held by Labour MPs Alison Seabeck and Linda Gilroy, with South West Devon held by Conservative MP Gary Streeter. Starting from 2009 or 2010, the next general election, the constituencies of Devonport and Sutton will merge to become Plymouth Sutton and Devonportmarker, whilst a new constituency, Plymouth Moor Viewmarker, will be formed to the north of the city taking in wards from Devonport.

City Council

Plymouth City Council logo
The civic centre building behind the Theatre Royal car park

The City of Plymouth is divided into 20 wards, 17 of which elect three councillors and the other three electing two councillors, making up a total council of 57. Each year a third of the council is up for election for three consecutive years — there are no elections on the following "fourth" year, which is when County Council elections take place. The total electorate for Plymouth was 183,358 in December 2007. The local election of May 2008 resulted in a political composition of 37 Conservative and 20 Labour. Plymouth has a Lord Mayor, which is elected each year on the third Friday of May by a group of six people. It is traditional that the position of the Lord Mayor alternates between the Conservative Party and the Labour Party annually and that the Lord Mayor chooses the Deputy Lord Mayor. As of May 2009 and until May 2010 Ken Foster holds the position of Lord Mayor.

The Great Hall in the Guildhall
The Lord Mayor's official residence is 3 Elliot Terrace, located on the Hoemarker. Once a home of Waldorf and Nancy Astor, it was given by Lady Astor to the City of Plymouth as an official residence for future Lord Mayors and is also used today for civic hospitality, as lodgings for visiting dignitaries and High Court judges and it is also available to hire for private events. The Civic Centre municipal office building in Armada Way became a listed building in June 2007 because of its quality and period features, but has become the centre of a controversy as the council planned for its demolition estimating that it could cost £40m to refurbish it, resulting in possible job losses.

Plymouth City Council is formally twinned with:


Plymouth lies between the River Plymmarker to the east and the River Tamar to the west; both rivers flow into the natural harbour of Plymouth Soundmarker. Since 1967, the unitary authority of Plymouth has included the, once independent, towns of Plymptonmarker and Plymstockmarker which lie along the east of the River Plym. The River Tamar forms the county boundary between Devonmarker and Cornwallmarker and its estuary forms the Hamoazemarker on which is sited Devonport Dockyardmarker. The River Plym, which flows off Dartmoormarker to the north east, forms a smaller estuary to the east of the city called Cattewatermarker. Plymouth Soundmarker is protected from the sea by the Plymouth Breakwatermarker, in use since 1814. In the Sound is Drake's Islandmarker which is seen from Plymouth Hoemarker, a flat public area on top of limestone cliffs. The Unitary Authority of Plymouth is 30.8 square miles (79.78 km²), but the city of Plymouth, as cited from Plymouth City Council, is 30.61 square miles (79.29 km²). The topography rises from sea level to a height, at Roboroughmarker, of about 509 feet (155 m) above Ordnance Datum (AOD).

Geologically, Plymouth has a mixture of limestone, Devonian slate, granite and Middle Devonian limestone. Plymouth Sound, Shores and Cliffsmarker is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, because of its geology. The bulk of the city is built upon Upper Devonian slates and shales and the headlands at the entrance to Plymouth Sound are formed of Lower Devonian slates, which can withstand the power of the sea. A band of Middle Devonian limestone runs west to east from Cremyllmarker to Plymstockmarker including the Hoe. Local limestone may be seen in numerous buildings, walls and pavements throughout Plymouth. To the north and north east of the city is the granite mass of Dartmoor; the granite was mined and exported via Plymouth. Rocks brought down the Tamar from Dartmoor include ores containing tin, copper, tungsten, lead and other minerals. There is evidence that the middle Devonian limestone belt at the south edge of Plymouth and in Plymstock was quarried at West Hoe, Cattedown and Radford.

On 27 April 1944 Sir Patrick Abercrombie's Plan for Plymouth to rebuild the city was published; it called for the demolition of the few remaining pre-War buildings in the city centre and their replacement with wide, modern boulevards aligned east-west linked by a north-south avenue (Armada Way) connecting the railway station and Plymouth Hoe. Prefabs had started to be built by 1946, and over 1,000 permanent council houses were built each year from 1951–57. By 1964 over 20,000 new homes had been built, more than 13,500 of them permanent council homes and 853 built by the Admiralty. Plymouth is home to 28 parks with an average size of . Its largest park is Central Parkmarker, with other sizeable green spaces including Victoria Parkmarker, Freedom Fields Parkmarker, Alexandra Park, Devonport Parkmarker and the Hoe.


Along with the rest of South West England, Plymouth has a temperate climate which is generally wetter and milder than the rest of England. This means a wide range of exotic plants can be grown. The annual mean temperature is approximately . Due to the modifying effect of the sea the seasonal range is less than in most other parts of the UK. February is the coldest month with mean minimum temperatures between and . July and August are the warmest months with mean daily maxima over .

South West England has a favoured location when the Azores High pressure area extends north-eastwards towards the UK, particularly in summer. Coastal areas have average annual sunshine totals over 1,600 hours.

Rainfall tends to be associated with Atlantic depressions or with convection. The Atlantic depressions are more vigorous in autumn and winter and most of the rain which falls in those seasons in the south-west is from this source. Average annual rainfall is around . November to March have the highest mean wind speeds, with June to August having the lightest winds. The predominant wind direction is from the south-west.


The University of Plymouthmarker is the 11th largest university in the United Kingdom by total number of students (including the Open Universitymarker). It has over 30,000 students, almost 3,000 staff and an annual income of around £160 million. It was founded in 1992 from Polytechnic South West following the Further and Higher Education Act 1992. It has courses in maritime business, marine engineering, marine biology and Earth, ocean and environmental sciences, surf science, shipping and logistics.

The city is also home to three large colleges. The University College Plymouth St Mark & St Johnmarker (known as "Marjon"), which specialises in teacher training, offers training across the country and abroad. The City College Plymouthmarker provides courses from the most basic to Foundation degrees for approximately 26,000 students. Plymouth College of Artmarker offers a selection of courses including media. It was started 153 years ago and is now one of only four independent colleges of art and design in the UK. Plymouth also has 71 state primary phase schools, 13 state secondary schools, eight special schools and three selective state grammar schools, as well as an independent school, Plymouth Collegemarker.

The city was also home to the Royal Naval Engineering Collegemarker; opened in 1880 in Keyhammarker, it trained engineering students for five years before they completed the remaining two years of the course at Greenwich. The college closed in 1910, but in 1940 a new college opened at Manadonmarker. This was renamed Dockyard Technical College in 1959 before finally closing in 1994; training was transferred to the University of Southamptonmarker.

Plymouth is home to the Plymouth Marine Laboratorymarker, which focuses on global issues of climate change and sustainability. It monitors the effects of ocean acidity on corals and shellfish and reports the results to the UK government. It also cultivates algae that could be used to make biofuels or in the treatment of waste water by using technology such as photo-bioreactors. It works alongside the Boots Group to investigate the use of algae in skin care protects, taking advantage of the chemicals they contain that adapt to protect themselves from the sun.


In August 2009, the Office for National Statistics estimated that Plymouth's unitary authority area population for mid-2008 was 252,800; 12,080 more people than that of the last census from 2001, which indicated that Plymouth had a population of 240,720. The average household size was 2.3 persons. To the right is a graph showing the population change of the city since 1801. The population rose rapidly during the second half of the 19th century, but declined by over 1.6% from 1931 to 1951. Plymouth's gross value added (a measure of its economy) was 3.501 billion GBP in 2004 making up approximately one quarter of Devonmarker's economy. Its GVA per capita was £14,327 and compared to the national average of £17,115, it was £2,788 lower. Plymouth's unemployment rate was 5.7% in January-December 2008 which was 1.6 points higher than the South West average and equal to the average for Great Britainmarker (England, Wales and Scotland). At the time of the 2001 UK census, the ethnic composition of Plymouth's population was 98.4% White, with the largest minority ethnic group being Chinese at 0.3%.


Because of its coastal location, the economy of Plymouth has traditionally been maritime, in particular the defence sector with over 12,000 people employed and approximately 7,500 in the armed forces. The Plymouth Gin Distillerymarker has been producing Plymouth Ginmarker since 1793, which was exported around the world by the Royal Navy. During the 1930s, it was the most widely distributed gin and has a controlled term of origin. Since the 1980s, employment in the defence sector has decreased substantially and the public sector is now prominent particularly in administration, health, education, medicine and engineering. Devonport Dockyardmarker is the UK's only naval base that refits nuclear submarines and the Navy estimates that the Dockyard generates about 10% of Plymouth's income. Plymouth has the largest cluster of marine and maritime businesses in the south west with 270 firms operating within the sector. Other substantial employers include the universitymarker with 30,000 students and almost 3,000 staff, as well as the Tamar Science Parkmarker employing 500 people in 50 companies, which is the fastest growing science park in the United Kingdom.

Plymouth has a post-war shopping area in the city centre with substantial pedestrianisation. At the west end of the zone inside a grade II listed building is the Pannier Market that was completed in 1959 — pannier meaning "basket" from French, so it translates as "basket market". In terms of retail floorspace, Plymouth is ranked in the top five in the South West, and 29th nationally. Plymouth was one of the first ten British cities to trial the new Business Improvement District initiative. The Tinside Poolmarker is situated at the foot of the Hoe and became a grade II listed building in 1998 before being restored to its 1930s look for £3.4 million.

Plymouth 2020

The old Drake Circus centre was demolished in 2004
Plymouth Council is currently undertaking a project of urban redevelopment called the 'Vision for Plymouth' launched by the architect David Mackay and backed by Plymouth City Council. Its projects range from shopping centres, a cruise terminal, a boulevard and to increase the population to 300,000 and build 33,000 dwellings.

In 2004 the old Drake Circus shopping centre and Charles Cross car park were demolished and replaced by the latest Drake Circus Shopping Centremarker, which opened in October 2006. It received negative feedback before opening when David Mackay said it was already "ten years out of date". In contrast, the Theatre Royalmarker's production and education centre, TR2, which was built on wasteland at Cattedownmarker, was a runner-up for the RIBA Stirling Prize for Architecture in 2003.

There is a project involving the future relocation of Plymouth City Council's headquarters, the civic centre, to the current location of the Bretonside bus station; it would involve both the bus station and civic centre being demolished and a rebuilt together at the location with the land from the civic centre being sold off. Other suggestions include the demolition of the Plymouth Pavilionsmarker entertainment arena to create a canal 'boulevard' linking Millbaymarker to the city centre. Millbay is being regenerated with mixed residential, retail and office space alongside the ferry port.


The A38 dual-carriageway runs from east to west across the north of the city. Heading east, it connects Plymouth to the M5 motorway about away near Exetermarker; and heading west it connects Cornwall and Devon via the Tamar Bridgemarker. Regular bus services are provided by Plymouth Citybus, First Group and Target Travel. There are three Park and ride services located at Milehousemarker, Coypool (Plymptonmarker) and George Junction (Plymouth City Airportmarker), which are operated by First Group.

A regular international ferry service provided by Brittany Ferries operates from Millbaymarker taking cars and foot passengers directly to France (Roscoff) and Spain (Santandermarker) on the three ferries, MV Armorique, MV Bretagne and MV Pont-Aven. There is a passenger ferry between Stonehousemarker and the Cornish hamlet of Cremyllmarker, which is believed to have operated continuously since 1204. There is also a pedestrian ferry from the Mayflower Stepsmarker to Mount Battenmarker, and an alternative to using the Tamar Bridgemarker via the Torpoint Ferrymarker (vehicle and pedestrian) across the River Tamar.

The city's airport is Plymouth City Airportmarker about north of the city centre. The airport is home to the local airline Air Southwest, which operates flights across the British Islesmarker and France. In June 2003 a report by the South West RDA was published looking at the future of aviation in the south west and the possible closure of airports. It concluded that the best option for the South West was to close Plymouth City Airport and expand Exeter International Airportmarker and Newquay Cornwall Airportmarker, although it did conclude that this was not the best option for Plymouth.

Plymouth railway stationmarker, which opened in 1877, is managed by First Great Western and also sees trains on the CrossCountry and South West Trains networks. Smaller stations are served by local trains on the Tamar Valley Line and Cornish Main Line. First Great Western have come under fire recently, due to widespread rail service cuts across the south west, which affect Plymouth greatly. Three MPs from the three main political parties in the region have lobbied that the train services are vital to its economy.


Plymouth has about 150 churches and its Roman Catholic cathedral (1858) is in Stonehousemarker. The city's oldest church is St Andrew's (Anglican) located at the top of Royal Parade—it is the largest parish church in Devonmarker and has been a site of gathering since 800 AD. The city also includes five Baptist churches, a Greek Orthodox church and 13 Roman Catholic churches. In 1831 the first Brethren assembly in England, a movement of conservative non-denominational Evangelical Christians, was established in the city, so that Brethren are often called Plymouth Brethren, although the movement did not begin locally.

Plymouth has the first known reference to Jews in the South West from Sir Francis Drake's voyages in 1577 to 1580, as his log mentioned "Moses the Jew"-—a man from Plymouth. The Plymouth Synagoguemarker is a Listed Grade II* building, built in 1762 and is the oldest Ashkenazi Synagogue in the English speaking world. There are also places of worship for Islam, Bahá'í, Buddhism, Chinese beliefs and Humanism.

73.6% of the population described themselves in the last census return as being at least nominally Christian with all other religions represented by less than 0.5% each. The number of people without a religion is above the national average at 18.3%, with 7.1% not stating their religion.


The Palace Theatre
Built in 1815, Union Streetmarker was at the heart of Plymouth's historical culture. It became known as the servicemen's playground, as it was where sailors from the Royal Navy would seek entertainment of all kinds. During the 1930s, there were 30 pubs and it attracted such performers as Charlie Chaplin to the Palace Theatre. It is now the late-night hub of Plymouth's entertainment strip, but has a reputation for trouble at closing hours.

Outdoor events and festivals are held including the annual British Firework Championshipsmarker in August, which attracts tens of thousands of people across the waterfront. In August 2006 the world record for the most amount of simultaneous fireworks was surpassed, by Roy Lowry of the University of Plymouthmarker, over Plymouth Soundmarker. Since 1992 the Music of the Night has been performed in the Royal Citadelmarker by the 29 Commando Regiment and local performers to raise money for local and military charities.

The city's main theatres are the Theatre Royalmarker (1,315 capacity), its Drum Theatre (200 capacity), and its production and creative learning centre, The TR2. The Plymouth Pavilionsmarker has multi uses for the city staging music concerts, basketball matches and stand-up comedy. There are also three cinemas: ABC Cinema at Derrys Cross, Plymouth Arts Centre at Looe Street and a Vue cinema at the Barbican Leisure Park. The Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallerymarker is operated by Plymouth City Council allowing free admission — it has six galleries.

Plymouth is the regional television centre of BBC South West. A team of journalists are headquartered at Plymouth for the ITV South West regional station, after a merger with ITV West forced ITV Westcountry to close on 16 February 2009. The main local newspapers serving Plymouth are The Herald and Western Morning News with BBC Radio Devon and Heart Plymouth being the main local radio stations.


Plymouth is home to Plymouth Argyle Football Club, who play in the Football League Championship (second tier of English football) at the Home Parkmarker stadium in Central Parkmarker. It links itself with the group of English non-conformists that left Plymouth for the New World in 1620: its nickname is "The Pilgrims".

Other sports clubs include Plymouth Albion R.F.C.marker and the Plymouth Raiders basketball club. Plymouth Albion Rugby Football Club is a rugby union club that was founded in 1875 and are currently competing in the second tier of Professional English Rugby the RFU Championship. Plymouth Raiders play in the British Basketball League — the top tier of British basketball. They play at the Plymouth Pavilionsmarker entertainment arena and were founded in 1983. Plymouth Devils are a speedway team in team in the British National League. Plymouth is also home to two American football clubs: The Plymouth Admirals and the Plymouth Blitz.

Public services

Since 1973 Plymouth has been supplied water by South West Water. Prior to the 1973 take over it was supplied by Plymouth County Borough Corporation. Before the 19th century two leats were built in order to provide drinking water for the town. They carried water from Dartmoormarker to Plymouth. A watercourse, known as Plymouth or Drake's Leatmarker, was opened on 24 April 1591 to tap the River Meavymarker. The Devonport Leatmarker was constructed to carry fresh drinking water to the expanding dockyards at Devonportmarker. It was fed by three Dartmoor rivers: The West Dart, Cowsic and Blackabrook. It seems to have been carrying water since 1797, but it was officially completed in 1801. It was originally designed to carry water to Devonport Dockyard, but has since been shortened and now carries water to Burrator Reservoir, which feeds most of the water supply of Plymouth. Burrator Reservoir is located about north of the city and was constructed in 1898 and expanded in 1928.

The Plymouth Combined Crown and County Courts
Plymouth City Council is responsible for waste management throughout the city and South West Water is responsible for sewerage. Plymouth's electricity is supplied from the National Grid and distributed to Plymouth via Western Power Distribution. On the outskirts of Plymptonmarker a combined cycle gas-powered station, the Langage Power Stationmarker, is due to start producing electricity for Plymouth at the end of 2009.

Her Majesty's Courts Service provide a Magistrates' Court and a Combined Crown and County Court in the city. The Plymouth Borough Police, formed in 1836, eventually became part of Devon and Cornwall Constabulary. There are police stations at Charles Cross and Crownhill (the Divisional HQ) and smaller stations at Plympton and Plymstock. The city has one of the Devon and Cornwall Area Crown Prosecution Service Divisional offices. Plymouth has five fire stations located in Camel's Head, Crownhillmarker, Greenbankmarker, Plymptonmarker (West Devon HQ) and Plymstockmarker which is part of Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service. The Royal National Lifeboat Institution have an Atlantic 85 class lifeboat and Severn class lifeboat stationed at Millbay Docksmarker.

Plymouth is served by Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust and the city's NHS hospital is Derriford Hospitalmarker north of the city centre and there is also the Royal Eye Infirmary near the city centre. South Western Ambulance Service NHS Trust operates in Plymouth and the rest of the south west; its headquarters are in Exetermarker.

The mid nineteenth century burial ground at Ford Park Cemeterymarker was recently reopened by a successful trust and the City council operate two large early twentieth century cemeteries at Weston Millmarker and Effordmarker both with crematoria and chapels.

Notable people

People from Plymouth are known as Plymothians or less formally as Janners. Its meaning is described as a person from Devonmarker, deriving from Cousin Jan (the Devonmarker form of John), but more particularly in naval circles anyone from the Plymouth area. The Elizabethan navigator, Sir Francis Drake was born in the nearby town of Tavistockmarker and was the mayor of Plymouth. He was the first Englishman to circumnavigate the world and was known by the Spanish as El Draco meaning "The Dragon" after he raided many of their ships. He died of dysentery in 1596 off the coast of Puerto Rico. In 2002 a mission to recover his body and bring it to Plymouth was allowed by the Ministry of Defence. Antarctic explorers Robert Falcon Scott and Frank Bickerton both lived in the city. Artists include Beryl Cook whose paintings depict the culture of Plymouth and Robert Lenkiewicz, whose paintings looked at themes such as: vagrancy, sexual behaviour and suicide, lived in the city from the 1960s until his death in 2002. In addition, actor Sir Donald Sinden and George Passmore of Turner Prize winning duo Gilbert and George were born in the city. Notable athletes include swimmer Sharron Davies, diver Tom Daley, dancer Wayne Sleep, and footballer Trevor Francis. Other past residents include composer Ron Goodwin, and journalist Angela Rippon.


After the English Civil War the Royal Citadelmarker was built in 1666 on the east end of Plymouth Hoemarker, to defend the port from naval attacks, suppress Plymothian Parliamentary leanings and to train the armed forces. Further west is Smeaton's Towermarker, which was built in 1759 as a lighthouse on rocks off shore, but dismantled and the top two thirds rebuilt on the Hoe in 1877. It is open to the public and has views over the Plymouth Sound and the city from the lantern room. Plymouth has 20 war memorials of which nine are on The Hoemarker including: Plymouth Naval war memorial, to remember those killed in World War One and Two, and the National Armada memorial, to commemorate the defeat of the Spanish Armada.

The early port settlement of Plymouth, called 'Sutton', approximates to the area now referred to as the Barbicanmarker and has 100 listed buildings and the largest concentration of cobbled streets in Britain. The Pilgrim Fathers left for the New World in 1620 near the commemorative Mayflower Stepsmarker in Sutton Pool. A mile upstream on the opposite side of the River Plymmarker is the Saltram estate, which has a Jacobean and Georgian mansion.Image:Royal Citadel, Plymouth.jpg|The Royal CitadelmarkerImage:SmeatonsTower2006.JPG|Smeaton's TowermarkerImage:Plymouth Sound and Breakwater.jpg|Plymouth Soundmarker and BreakwatermarkerImage:Britannia-Statue.jpg|National Armada memorial (Britannia)Image:War memorial, Plymouth.jpg|Naval War MemorialImage:Plymouth Barbican and harbour.jpg|The Parade, BarbicanmarkerImage:MayflowerSteps.jpg|The Mayflower Stepsmarker MemorialImage:Saltram House 2008.jpg|Saltram Housemarker


  1. Plymouth attributes this statement to Crispin Gill.
  2. The South West Water Authority Constitution Order 1973 (1973 No. 1307)

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