Devonport’s heritage area reopens after winter revamp

Topic: CommunityEvents Storyline: Museums

There’s great news for naval/local history buffs in the Plymouth area.

The Naval Base Heritage Centre, which charts the development of the dockyard and Plymouth’s role in supporting the Royal Navy through major conflicts, has reopened its doors to the public after a revamp ahead of this year’s 200th anniversary celebrations of Devonport Dockyard.

The centre – in Vivid Approach, off Granby Way – comprises historic buildings, galleries, and exhibits. 

In the Old Fire Station, which dates back to 1851, there is the Age of Sail Gallery which highlights the sailing navy and wooden shipbuilding in Devonport.

The 19th-Century Dockyard Superintendent’s and Pay Office has the core of the collection, including uniforms through the ages, a Royal Yacht China collection and the Courageous gallery celebrating the Silent Service, featuring the a fully operational submarine periscope to look through.

Peter Dunlop, manager of the heritage site said a 21-strong team of volunteers had worked with him over the winter to improve all every gallery, “showcasing the history of the Dockyard and Royal Navy from 1700 to the present day.

He continued: “Visitors will have the option of going on a guided tour or exploring the Centre on their own. We would encourage you to come along and see for yourselves what treasures we have here.” 

The Lord Mayor Mark Shayer and Lady Mayoress of Plymouth were given a sneak peak inside the heritage area ahead of the public re-opening.

“A big thank you to the volunteers for all the hard work in getting the centre open,” said Cllr Shayer, who served as a submariner for 25 years.

“These are early days, but it is especially poignant because this year is the 200th Anniversary of the creation of Devonport."

Also enjoying a preview look-around was Deputy Naval Base Commander Captain David Preece who was full of praise for the those who gave up their free time to run the centre.

“We all know the magic doesn’t happen by magic,” he said. “It happens due to the hard work of the volunteers to get involved and I am enormously grateful to the volunteers for all hard work that has gone into getting to this point. It’s always important to look backwards to see at how we arrived here today.”  

The centre is open to visitors from March to October every Wednesday and every second Saturday from 10am-3pm. There is no need to book but check the website for latest information at

Admission is free, but donations to cover running costs are appreciated. Parking is available on site.