As part of our ongoing work to prepare our collections for our relocation to The Box, some of our photographic collections are being moved off site and will no longer be available to view in our search room from 30 May 2018. Where a collection has been digitised, the digital images of this material will still be available to use.

If you are planning to undertake any research involving photographic material please contact us and we can advise you on the availability of specific items.

Please accept our apologies for this.

Western Morning News


Plymouth and West Devon Record Office holds in excess of 250,000 photographic negatives, the earliest of which date from March 1941. The negatives are part of a larger collection of material deposited by the Plymouth-based Western Morning News newspaper, including war diaries for World War II in Plymouth. The images are an important record of life and events in Plymouth and its surroundings over more than fifty years. Images in the collection cover events, big and small from the blitzing of the city and its reconstruction, through to human interest stories, sport and pictures of everyday life.

Photograph showing blitz damage close to a bridge with large buildings in the backgroundA project is underway to catalogue and scan these negatives. Their descriptions and images are freely available to view through our online archive catalogue.

Due to the considerable size of the project, it is expected to run for a number of years and is very dependent on the work of our volunteers who contribute a huge amount to the Record Office and its collections.

You can browse the catalogue descriptions and images using our online catalogue. You can view them in a number of ways:

Other Photographic Collections

The record office holds many collections containing photographs from public bodies, churches, private businesses and individuals, schools, and many others. Descriptions are available on our online catalogue.

Two of the more significant collections are:

  • Plymouth City Architect’s Department recording the post-war reconstruction of the city, 1947-1971. Descriptions to these photographs are available to view via our online catalogue.
  • Sunday Independent Newspaper, 1961-2001. These negatives have not yet been catalogued but are accessible by year. The Plymouth Central Library holds copies of the newspaper on microfilm.