Located in the south of Devon, Plymouth is known as Britain’s Ocean City because of its strong maritime heritage and commitment to ocean conservation. It is the site of the Mayflower launch, transporting pilgrims to the new world and where one of the UK’s most recognisable landscapes (Smeaton’s Tower) can be found.

But did you know that the city was home to or connected with some of the UK’s best known exports?  How many of these people did you know where associated with the city?

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The creator of Sherlock Holmes famously used Dartmoor for the inspiration of the Hound of the Baskervilles but did you know that the great detective himself was based on a Plymouth resident? Conan Doyle lived in the city for a time working at a medical practice in Dumford Street where he met a Dr Budd who is said to be the model for Sherlock Holmes.

David McKee

You might not know the name, but you will recognise some of his creations. McKee was the creator of Mr Benn and Elmer the Elephant and studied at Plymouth College of Art.

Trevor Francis

Former footballer, Francis was born in Plymouth and went on to play at a number of clubs across the world, not just in England. In 1979, he became the first £1million player in Britain following his transfer from Birmingham City to Nottingham Forest.

Heather Knight

Cricketer Helen Knight captained the England Women’s Cricket Team during their World Cup win and was born in Plymouth.

Tom Daley

Perhaps one of the most well known people to come from Plymouth, Daley is one of Britain’s youngest Olympians having competed in three Olympic games by the age of 23.

William Bligh

As you might expect from a city steeped in maritime history, there were a number of sailors, privateers and pirates who came from or through Plymouth, including Bligh. Bligh was born in the city and went on to captain the HMS Bounty – however a mutiny saw him lose control of the ship and was left adrift in the South Pacific. He had to make his way home, travelling more than 3,500 nautical miles.

Nancy Astor

American socialite Nancy Astor became the first female MP to take her seat in the House of Commons. She was elected in 1919 and remained active in politics for a number of years.

Scott of the Antarctic

Though he is more commonly known as Scott of the Antarctic, his official title is Captain Robert Falcon Scott. He was an officer in the Navy and led two expeditions to the Antarctic, hence the name. He was born in Plymouth in 1868 and died while exploring in the Antarctic. There is a memorial to him at the Antarctic and equipment he used on the expeditions can be found at the Box in Plymouth. His cousin, Robert Julian Scott was also famous – he created New Zealand’s first indigenous steam buggy.

Sir Francis Chichester

Another Devonian, Sir Francis was born in Barnstaple at the other end of the county, but became famous after becoming the first person to sail single handed around the globe, setting off from Plymouth in 1966. The journey took 226 days.

Charles Darwin

Darwin is best known for his theory of evolution, something he concluded from journeying around the world. His most famous voyage was on the HMS Beagle, which launched from Plymouth in 1831. While Darwin is the famous one, much of his work was inspired by William Elford Leach, a Plymouth native who modernised British zoology.

Sir Francis Drake

This one you will definitely know, not only was Drake a well known privateer during the reign of Elizabeth I but he also served as the city’s mayor and a member of parliament. He circumnavigated the world in 1577, setting off from Plymouth, something that took him 3 years. There is a statue dedicated to him at Plymouth Hoe and a licence given to him from the Queen allowing him to be a pirate can be seen in the city too.

Lewis Pugh

Another adventurer from Plymouth, Pugh was the first person to undertake a long distance swim in every ocean of the world.

Learn more about Plymouth here.