29 December 2015

The War in Plymouth: Destruction and a New Beginning - An Oral History of the Plymouth Blitz and the Reconstruction of the City

Plymouth suffered the most devastating aerial bombing onslaught during World War Two, matched only by the impacts on London and Coventry. Civilian fatalities reached 1,172, casualties 4,448, while over the course of the war 3,754 houses were destroyed and a further 18,398 seriously damaged. The city survived, as did the spirit of its residents, signified by the famous Resurgam sign nailed above the door of the ruined church of St Andrew's. From 1945 to 1955, one of the most remarkable civic planning and building exercises ever seen in Europe was undertaken, resulting in the building of 17,000 new homes. The city of Plymouth as it is known today owes its shape and structure to the war and the succeeding years of rebuilding.

Over a period of two years from 2013 to 2015, researchers working with The Word Machine Community Interest Company conducted oral history interviews with Plymouth residents who could remember both the war years and the subsequent civic renaissance. This volume contains a summary of some of those interviews, together with photographs of the interviewees taken by Fotonow CIC. The War in Plymouth: Destruction and a New Beginning has been supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. 376 pages with over 50 colour photographs and historic images.

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