We provide an archive service on behalf of Torbay Council, caring for many thousands of documents relating to the Torbay area.  You can access these at the Devon Heritage Centre in Exeter, or via our research service.  We provide three service points in Torbay where you can look at microform copies of historical records for the local area.  These are located at Brixham Heritage Museum, Paignton Library and Torquay Library. An archivist also visits Torre Abbey, approximately quarterly.

Access Documents From 15th Century

We have a wide variety of documents relating to Torbay dating from the 15th century to the 21st.  These include deeds, family and estates papers, such the those of the Raleigh, Reynell and Oxley-Parker families, manorial records, business records, records of local groups and organisations, hospital records, travel diaries, oral history collections, cemetery records, building plans and surveys, sales catalogues, shipping registers and railway records.

We also have the tithe records, school records, parish and non-conformist records, local council records, electoral registers, charity records, listed building reports and numerous collections of photographs and postcards of Torbay and South Devon.

Many of our other collections, such as the Ordnance Survey maps, Inland Revenue wills, diocesan records, prison records and court records will contain references to places or people in the Torbay area.

Torre Abbey Archive Visits

The Torbay Archive Service offers easier access to services for people who live in Torbay.  An archivist visits Torre Abbey on Tuesdays, approximately quarterly, in order to:

  • Help people find out about the past, with information on how to find out about family, house and local history
  • Provide information on the archives held at the Devon Heritage Centre
  • Bring microfiche for people to study, and documents from the archive strongrooms when appropriate

The sessions will run from 11.00 am until 3.30 pm, and will take place in the Learning Lab at Torre Abbey on:

Tuesday 9 July
Tuesday 10 September
Tuesday 3 December

Copies of Documents

If you would like to look at original documents or microfiche held at the Devon Heritage Centre, please contact us in advance of the visit and please be aware that spaces are limited.  Requests for documents will be taken until 2 days before the visit but only if spaces still remain.

The archivist will bring as many documents as is feasible, but space is limited.  In any instance where the original cannot be brought, it may be possible to bring copies of the document to enable research.  Charges will apply if you would like to keep the copies.

You can bring a digital camera to take photographs of documents.  You will need to purchase a photographic licence for the day before taking any photographs.

New users will be asked to register with the South West Heritage Trust to gain a readers’ ticket.  Please bring some form of ID containing your name, current address and signature (e.g. a driving licence), so that we can issue you with one of our readers’ tickets.

For more information please contact archivist Brian Carpenter on 01392 888712 or brian.carpenter@swheritage.org.uk