Spirit of Adventure: the Plymouth Blitz and the post-war rebuilding of the city
n illustrated talk by Dr. Clare Maudling on Thursday, 6th October, 2022 at 7pm in The Devon Rural Archive.

Virtually all blitzed cities claim to have suffered the worst bomb damage of the war, but Plymouth may be the holder of this unfortunate title. Seven devastating raids in 1941 virtually obliterated the old centre of Plymouth and severely damaged Stonehouse and the nearby dockyard areas.  The challenge of rebuilding was immense, but Plymouth rose to it, engaging one of the UK’s foremost town planners to create a new city from the rubble of war. The plan was ambitious, sweeping away the tangle of Victorian streets and tackling the problems of poor housing and transport. Despite being hailed as a shining example of bold planning, Plymouth’s plan was beset by delays and government attempts to curtail its ambitions. This talk will examine the creation of the plan and the challenges it overcame to produce one of Britain’s most complete post-war landscapes.

Dr. Clare Maudling is a researcher, historian and former library professional. She spent fifteen years working in specialist libraries, including the Exeter Performing Arts Library and the Westcountry Studies Library, before undertaking postgraduate study in history at the University of Exeter. Born in Exeter, Clare’s interest in history was inherited from her father, who used to take her on walks around the city’s historical landmarks. She developed a love of architectural history and her main research interest is the evolution of urban planning and housing in the UK. She completed her PhD on post-war reconstruction in Exeter, Plymouth and Bristol in 2018, culminating over a decade of research into post-war rebuilding. Clare currently works for Exeter Historic Buildings Trust and is a researcher for the university’s politics department, working on a project investigating the structure of UK government.

Picture above: photograph of the bombed centre from the DRA Image Bank. 

Tickets are £5 each, and must be purchased in advance.  
A Season Ticket to attend all 11 lectures in our 2022 programme is also available in our online shop.  
Please note that payments are non-refundable. 

Doors open at 6:30pm for complimentary refreshments and a chance to explore the Archive.
Before visiting the Archive, please see our current guidance about attending face-to-face events during the pandemic

To purchase a ticket please use the button below. Alternatively you can call us on 01548 830832 or email office@dra.uk.net; you will need to supply a valid phone number and email address for our records. By purchasing a ticket you will be subscribing to the DRA Friends mailing list and will receive regular updates about our work and events, but you can unsubscribe at any time.

Stay in the loop!


Join the DRA Friends to receive the latest news from the archive as well as details of our events and exhibitions by email. Please add office@dra.uk.net to your list of contacts to prevent our messages being banished to your Spam folder.  

Where we are

Devon Rural Archive, Shilstone, Modbury, Devon, PL21 0TW

Call us: 01548 830832

Email us: nicola@shilstonedevon.co.uk