Search The Archives Catalogue

Before you start

Images can be found by including the search term digital image on the search the catalogue page. Searches are not case sensitive.

Alternatively you can see all of catalogue entries with images attached.

What You Will Find

The search will produce a number of results. If you click on a result that you are interested in, the catalogue entry will appear on the screen. The image will be displayed by clicking on the image url link. Sometimes more than one image is available.

Download the image

To download an image click on the image url link.

Watermarking and copyright

All of the images you can look at have been watermarked. Please do not try to remove the watermarking or crop the image as to do so infringes copyright. We may be able to provide you with a copy of the image without any watermarking for your private research or school/university studies. There is normally a charge for this service – please contact us for details.

Other Ways to search
  • Email:
  • Phone: 01752 304774


This catalogue contains descriptions of documents held at Plymouth and West Devon Record Office. In some instances an image of a document or photograph will also be available to view.

Our online catalogue is constantly growing and is being added to with newly-deposited and records converted from our paper catalogues. It should be used in conjunction with our catalogues that appeared on the old Access to Archives website which contains the bulk of our material catalogued prior to 2005. These catalogues can now be searched for on the National Archives's Discovery website. Our ultimate aim is to merge the data from both these sources on our own catalogue.

The online catalogue also provides access to a number of databases useful to family historians. Please see our projects and family history indexes pages to access them.

How to search

Search terms

Your can undertake a simple search on a single word such as 'school' or on multiple words such as 'Plymstock School' or 'Hoe Grammar School'. The search is not case sensitive.

You can enter any term you like, the most popular being personal names or a property address. Symbols such as £, $, %, and & cannot be used when searching.

Use the following advice to get the most from your searches:


If you enter more than one word, you will need to click the field containing either AND or OR or NOT depending on how you want to search.

Use AND to search for multiple words, eg a search for 'Plymstock' AND 'school' will locate all entries containing both words.

Use OR to search for similar meaning words, eg a search for 'Reconstruction' OR 'Redevelopment' will locate all entries containing either word.

Use NOT to search for one word and exclude a second word, eg a search for 'school' NOT primary will locate all the school entries but will not show any containing the word primary.

Phrase searches for words next to one another in the catalogue using inverted commas or quotation marks eg "Plymstock School" cannot be undertaken. Please use the AND search.


When searching for a person, try inputting first name and surname only as middle names are not always included. If this is not successful, try a search by surname only.

When searching for an address, include the house number. If this is not successful, try a second search using only the street name.

What You Will Find

Two main types of entries are shown. These are collection level descriptions or item level descriptions.

Collection level descriptions

This level of description gives details on a number of items which are grouped together as a single collection. The description will either give a summary of the collection or a list of the items contained within each box. If appropriate, details from the collection's administrative history (information on how the records came into existence) are also included. Sometimes items of importance are also highlighted. Occasionally, links from the summary description to the full catalogue on the National Archives's Discovery website are included.

Item level descriptions

This level details information about an individual item. If the item has more than one part, a piece level description is sometimes shown, detailing each part. The item level description offers key data such as the informational content and date of creation of the material in question. It does not contain the full text of the document or volume.

What do I do when I have found an entry on the catalogue?

You can obtain more information on what you have found by visiting us in person or by using our image service or an external researcher. Please contact us (link to Contact above) for more information.

Terms and Conditions

Copyright, intellectual rights and watermarking

All of the text, images and databases and Copyright Plymouth 2020.

No text, images or data from our databases may be reproduced for any use or posted elsewhere on the internet without permission in writing. This copyright also covers our online archive catalogue.

Rights in the online archive catalogue database are property of the Plymouth City Council, © 2020.

Rights in the Discorvery database are the property of the Crown, © 2020.

The downloading of material from this website is also subject to Plymouth City Councils terms and conditions.

Copyright disclaimer

Copyright for some of the material included on these pages is vested in a number of organisations and individuals. Efforts have been made to locate copyright holders. If you feel you are the copyright holder for any of the material shown here, please email

Copying service for private researchers

Most of the images you can look at on our website or online catalogue have been watermarked. Please do not try to remove the watermarking or crop the image, as to do so infringes copyright. We can provide you with a copy of the image without any watermarking for your private research or school/university studies.

Please contact us at for further information.

Professional use

If you would like to repoduce any of our informatin or images (including on the internet), or use them on television or in a publication please email