A celebration is being held this October to mark the 30th anniversary of a rich collection of North Devon’s historical records.

The North Devon Local Studies Centre has been the backbone for a plethora of local history booksThe North Devon Local Studies Centre has been the backbone for a plethora of local history books

The organisations that make up the North Devon Local Studies Centre at Barnstaple Library are marking three decades of partnership with a special open day on Tuesday, October 2.

The centre is made up of the North Devon Local Studies Library, North Devon Record Office and North Devon Athenaeum.

In its time it has helped create countless books on local history, research projects and even people searching their family tree.

To mark the anniversary the open day from 2.30-7.30pm will invite people to see how the great riches of North Devon’s archival and printed history are being cared for and made available today.

Brian Barrow with just some of the many stories of North Devon First World War casualties he has unearthed researching local war memorials and at the North Devon Local Studies Centre.Brian Barrow with just some of the many stories of North Devon First World War casualties he has unearthed researching local war memorials and at the North Devon Local Studies Centre.

It will include tours of the Record Office strongrooms and the Athenaeum stack, displays of archive material, short talks about the service and films showing Barnstaple and North Devon in the 1940s.

The three services have been based on the second floor in Barnstaple Library since 1988 when the North Devon Record Office was founded.

Since then they have welcomed tens of thousands of people seeking information about local history.

Researchers have come from the local area, from the rest of the United Kingdom and from as far afield as the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

A painting of early Barnstaple, which can be found at the North Devon Local Studies Centre. Picture: Libraries UnlimitedA painting of early Barnstaple, which can be found at the North Devon Local Studies Centre. Picture: Libraries Unlimited

One regular visitor is Brian Barrow, who has been using the resource since the early 1990s to research the names of local men who lost their lives in the First World War.

His research has resulted in a substantial collection of stories, newspaper articles and details about local men who served, and are available to view at the centre and local museums.

The North Devon Local Studies Library is part of Barnstaple Library’s collection, owned and run by Devon-based charity, Libraries Unlimited.

The North Devon Record Office is managed by the South West Heritage Trust and the North Devon Athenaeum is an independent charity and has its own proud history dating from 1888.

The North Devon Local Studies Centre is celebrating 30 years this October. Picture: Libraries UnlimitedThe North Devon Local Studies Centre is celebrating 30 years this October. Picture: Libraries Unlimited

Jude Jeal, centre Manager at Barnstaple Library, said: “We are very excited to invite people to come and celebrate and explore our archives and resources held within the Local Studies Centre.

“It’s a real achievement that thanks to our partnership with the North Devon Athenaeum and South West Heritage Trust these extensive facilities have been here for 30 years and have helped hundreds of people to trace family history and unravel local stories.”