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Built in 1815, Union Street was at the heart of Plymouth's historical culture. It became known as the servicemen's playground, as it was where sailors from the Royal Navy would seek entertainment of all kinds. During the 1930s, there were 30 pubs and it attracted such performers as Charlie Chaplin to the Palace Theatre. It is now the late-night hub of Plymouth's entertainment strip, but has a reputation for trouble at closing hours.
Outdoor events and festivals are held including the annual British Firework Championships in August, which attracts tens of thousands of people across the waterfront. In August 2006 the world record for the most amount of simultaneous fireworks was surpassed, by Roy Lowry of the University of Plymouth, over Plymouth Sound. Since 1992 the Music of the Night has been performed in the Royal Citadel by the 29 Commando Regiment and local performers to raise money for local and military charities.
The city's main theatres are the Theatre Royal (1,315 capacity), its Drum Theatre (200 capacity), and its production and creative learning centre, The TR2. The Plymouth Pavilions has multi uses for the city staging music concerts, basketball matches and stand-up comedy. There are also three cinemas: ABC Cinema at Derrys Cross, Plymouth Arts Centre at Looe Street and a Vue cinema at the Barbican Leisure Park. The Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery is operated by Plymouth City Council allowing free admission it has six galleries.
Plymouth is the regional television centre of BBC South West. A team of journalists are headquartered at Plymouth for the ITV South West regional station, after a merger with ITV West forced ITV Westcountry to close on 16 February 2009. The main local newspapers serving Plymouth are The Herald and Western Morning News with BBC Radio Devon, Heart Plymouth and Pirate FM being the main local radio stations.
Plymouth is home to Plymouth Argyle Football Club, who play in the Football League Championship (second tier of English football) at the Home Park stadium in Central Park. It links itself with the group of English non-conformists that left Plymouth for the New World in 1620: its nickname is "The Pilgrims".
Other sports clubs include Plymouth Albion R.F.C. and the Plymouth Raiders basketball club. Plymouth Albion Rugby Football Club is a rugby union club that was founded in 1875 and are currently competing in the second tier of Professional English Rugby the RFU Championship. Plymouth Raiders play in the British Basketball League the top tier of British basketball. They play at the Plymouth Pavilions entertainment arena and were founded in 1983. Plymouth Devils are a speedway team in team in the British National League. Plymouth is also home to two American football clubs: The Plymouth Admirals and the Plymouth Blitz.
Plymouth is an important centre for watersports, especially scuba diving and sailing. The Port of Plymouth Regatta has been held for more than 150 years.
Since 1973 Plymouth has been supplied water by South West Water. Prior to the 1973 take over it was supplied by Plymouth County Borough Corporation. Before the 19th century two leats were built in order to provide drinking water for the town. They carried water from Dartmoor to Plymouth. A watercourse, known as Plymouth or Drake's Leat, was opened on 24 April 1591 to tap the River Meavy. The Devonport Leat was constructed to carry fresh drinking water to the expanding dockyards at Devonport. It was fed by three Dartmoor rivers: The West Dart, Cowsic and Blackabrook. It seems to have been carrying water since 1797, but it was officially completed in 1801. It was originally designed to carry water to Devonport Dockyard, but has since been shortened and now carries water to Burrator Reservoir, which feeds most of the water supply of Plymouth. Burrator Reservoir is located about 5 miles (8.0 km) north of the city and was constructed in 1898 and expanded in 1928.