Local Studies

Local Studies Information Page

This page provides links to various search pages, catalogues, lists and guides to the local studies collections.  The information covers material held at Devon Heritage Centre, Barnstaple Local Studies Library, the North Devon Athenaeum, Exmouth Library, Tiverton Library and other Devon libraries.

Shelf references with the prefix DHC, DRO and WSL all refer to sources which were formerly held at the Devon Record Office and the Westcountry Studies Library, but  are now looked after by Devon Heritage Services, and can be accessed at Devon Heritage Centre.   

The search pages and the guides linked to these are still being updated.

  • Places
    The place search page will enable you to look for books and articles relating, specifically, to the region (Westcountry), counties, parishes, towns, geographical and municipal areas (e.g. Dartmoor, South Hams) and major geographical features such as rivers.
  • A list of all the parishes in Devon with a description and references to a range of information on each.
  • Subjects
    The subject search page will enable you to look for the subject which forms the main theme of works – for example, medicine, poverty, crime, festivals, markets, artists. Information on a wide range of local topics is also included in thematic guides and lists – for example, “War-time photographs of Exeter from the Express and Echo.”
  • Catalogues
    On this main catalogue search page you can look for books, articles and other items in local studies collections, using author, words in the title, publication details or keywords.
  • Exeter Working Papers in Book history
    The Exeter Working Papers in Book History website, created by former county Local Studies librarian Ian Maxted, contains biographical, bibliographical and historical information on book history in Devon, particularly for the later eighteenth century. The earlier Exeter Working Papers originally appeared as limited issue publications from the 1970s to the 1990s. These are now out of print except for The London book trades 1775-1800. They aimed to make biographical information on book trade personnel gathered in the course of research generally available. In a revised form they were subsequently included on the website of Devon Library Services. They were migrated to the present website in 2005 where the information is constantly being updated and extended.
  • Names
    This search page will help you to find biographies, personal reminiscences and family histories as well as named buildings, ships, businesses and organizations. You can search using surname and any first names for persons, or words from the title if searching for businesses and organisations.
  • Special collections
    This page includes links to a number of special collections, not all of which relate to the Westcountry, but which form part of the local studies collections because they have been assembled by a local collector or antiquary.
  • Illustrations
    This search page enables you to search for illustrations – prints, portraits, photographs - which have catalogue records, and sometimes accompanying digital images, available on this website.   

    You can also search for prints on the Etched on Devon's Memory webpages, and look at a page showing  some of the portraits, photographs and drawings of notable Devonians  in our collections.  

    Read more about local studies illustrations collections.
  • Maps
    This page enables you to search for historical maps of Devon, and to read about using these maps as an historical resource.  Most maps in the local studies collection are printed maps. Searches are limited to records for separate maps only. The catalogue does not normally include entries for maps within larger works and atlases, although some works may have been indexed in this way for special projects.
  • Timeline
    This search page enables you to make a date search, to look for works about a particular time period, or works published in particular years.  It also includes links to information pages which have a chronological framework, e.g. a chronological listing of key dates in Devon's history, and a booklist of works relating to specific periods of Devon's history.