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24 September 2014

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December 2004
Plymouth then & now
Plymouth 2004 and as it was in years gone by
Take a step back in time
If you've ever strolled through the streets of Plymouth and wondered what the city would have been like in days gone by, then this could be the book for you. Local historian Chris Robinson compares the city in words and pictures.
Review by: Laura Joint

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Plymouth - Then and Now
By: Chris Robinson
Publishers: Pen & Ink
Price: £12.95

And they say nostalgia isn't what it used to be...well you could have fooled me! I reckon there's more of it about now than ever before.

Just take a look at the volume of local history books on the market - a reflection of the interest in how things used to be, compared to now.

Well there's a new book which takes us back in time in Plymouth, and brings us bang up to date too.

"Plymouth:Then and Now" by local historian and broadcaster Chris Robinson compares photos of the same spots from the 1860s through to 2004.

Inevitably perhaps, the comparison does few favours to 20th century architecture. The Victorian buildings and streets look so much more elegant.

Plymouth Pier
Plymouth Pier - sorely missed
Yet some places look remarkably unchanged, such as the Hoe and Smeaton's Tower.

And then there are the structures lost forever in the Blitz of 1941, among them the maginificent pier.

Charles Church was another victim of the blitz, and its shell now sits incongruously in the middle of a roundabout. This particular area of Plymouth has changed greatly in the past centrury - and not for the better, looking at these photos.

The book has been put together over eight years, during which time Chris Robinson's Then and Now weekly column has appeared in the local paper, the Plymouth Evening Herald.

Interestingly, the pictures taken in the past 12 months have already become history, because much of Plymouth city centre has been knocked down as part of the multi-million pound redevelopment.

The city centre - rebuilt through necessity after the war - is undergoing another makeover. Will the architects get it right? Or will we be left in a few years' time feeling all nostalgic about what's been knocked down?

Watch this space...

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