Our North Devon Local Studies Centre combines a general reading room and a searchroom area for looking at Devon Archives and Local Studies Service documents.
We provide table space for research, a number of microfilm and fiche viewers, together with one self service printer, and computers for local or family history research subject to conditions of use, including free usage of the Ancestry Library Edition website .
You are welcome to bring your laptop for your research but please read our guidelines re the use of personal electrical equipment before your visit. Connection to mains power may be provided depending upon the availability of a suitable safe location.
WiFi access is also available subject to terms and conditions
We have a small area where you may sit for rest and refreshment if you want to bring sandwiches and a flask.
The Local Studies Library reference book collection concentrates on the North Devon and Exmoor area and on works of literature by local writers.
It also includes general research guides for local and family history, District and County Council reports, booklets and pamphlets on various topics and runs of the major county historical periodicals, including the Transactions of the Devonshire Association and Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries, as well as more general publications and local titles and newsletters.
We keep a number of local newspapers at Barnstaple, most of which are held in microfilm format rather than hard copy. We also keep files of newspaper cuttings and references relating to towns and parishes in the North Devon area and regarding subjects of local interest.
We also hold electoral registers covering North Devon and Torridge parishes from 1973 to 2001 and 2000 respectively, and agenda, reports and minutes for both District Councils from 1974 to 2011 for North Devon and to May 2010 for Torridge, as well as Devon County Council minutes from 1981 to July 2010 and Barnstaple Town Council minutes from 1975 to date.
We hold printed maps of North Devon in both microfiche and hard copy form. These include OS County Series 1st and 2nd Edition 1:10560 & 1:2500 and the1889 1:500 OS town plans of Barnstaple, Bideford and Ilfracombe.
We also hold a selection of thematic local maps including geological and land use maps, navigation charts and shopping centre plans.
We also have a small collection of postcards, aerial photographs and prints, and the Francis Frith illustrations for the whole of Devon on microfiche.
Although now available online we keep microfiche copies of the following -
- Census returns for 1841 to 1901 for the registration districts of Barnstaple, Bideford, Holsworthy, South Molton and Torrington (indexes available)
- The International Genealogical Index of baptisms and marriages held for England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland
Devon Archives and Local Studies Service hold records of both pre and post 1974 local councils and maps and plans in original document form from the 18th to 20th centuries, including estate, tithe, building and railway plans. Tithe maps are normally consulted in fiche form but are now also available online at www.devon.gov.uk/tithemaps.htm (as these have been added only recently the NB on the page is now out of date and can be disregarded)
The Athenaeum collection contains a broad mix of antiquarian books on a number of subjects and has a large collection of illustrations and ephemera including loose photographs and albums, early playbills and broadsheets.
The Athenaeum also hold microfiche copies of the General Register Office index 1837-1983.