Welcome to an archive of historic Dover articles



This website is about Dover, East Kent, England. The history of the town is lost in the mists of Time – suffice to say that a Bronze Age Boat was found while laying a major road through the town. The unique boat is now on show in the Museum.

A new story on Dover’s past is uploaded regularly and the site is proving popular not only in England but throughout the world! 

To read the stories about the history of the town – which I once love but now sadly has been deliberately destroyed – just click on Topics/ Select category, on the right, or by typing in a specific topic in the Search box, also on the right. 

Map of Dover Town with thanks to Alan Young of disused-stations.org.uk


The once celebrated seaport town of Dover, England is situated in the south-eastern corner of the county of Kent and is of great antiquity. Indeed, archaeological discoveries go back to the Stone Age and the famous Bronze Age boat – the world’s oldest sea-going boat – is housed in the town’s museum.

Named Dubris by the Romans this later evolved into Dover and the Dour for the river that runs through the town. During the Saxon period Dover became a fishing port and Edward the Confessor, (1042-1066) recognising this expertise, which included ships that were strong enough to withstand the conditions in the Channel and the North Sea, proclaimed, in 1050, that the towns folk would provide ‘ship service.’ Along with Hastings, Romney, Hythe and Sandwich, Rye and Winchelsea, the town was one of the Cinque Ports that provided England’s first long serving Royal navy.

Eastern Docks and the Famous White Cliffs

Eastern Docks and the Famous White Cliffs

The famous white cliffs that were the symbol of home to the Englishman abroad overlook the town. The Strait of Dover is the shortest distance between England and mainland Europe and this has, historically and strategically, been of significant importance to Britain up to the end of the end of World War II (1939-1945). Since then, for the same reason, Dover’s port became one of the busiest passenger ports in the world. Now it is heavily clogged with polluting lorries.

Dover was heavily bombarded during World War II but did retain many significant historical buildings, ancient archaeological remains and areas of outstanding natural beauty. These however have either been destroyed and are under threat carried out in an Orwellian interpretation of progress. Luckily, there are depositories of historic documentation from the propitious days gone by and from which the stories, published on this website, come from. Please browse the index of Topics on the right for a wide variety of articles from the rich tapestry of Dover’s past.

Click on Topics/ Select category, on the right, or by typing in a specific topic in the Search box, also on the right.


Schematic map of East Kent showing road and rail links to the town and port of Dover. Courtesy of A Friend

Schematic map of East Kent showing road and rail links to the town and port of Dover. Courtesy of A Friend


86 Responses to Welcome to an archive of historic Dover articles

  1. Denise Smith says:

    V interesting, can’t wait for more… Keep up the good work… Your audience awaits.

  2. Diana says:

    Want to read more,please continue.

  3. Adeline says:

    Excellent – A great opportunity for the Residents of Dover to read about their Town’s History

  4. Richard B says:

    The history and people of Dover should most certainly be celebrated; but, we should not forget the huge challenges we all have ahead of us, if we want to make Dover great once again. Richard B.

    • Barrie WILSON says:

      Fascinating to come across Richard B’s observations 4 years to the day later; particularly his prescience in the use of “challenges” which has, in more recent years, metamorphosed as a (politicians’ esp.) preferred synonym for “problems”, which of course it never was. More remarkable, is his second laudable exhortation which out-trumped the Donald himself! Contrary to my personal wishes, I feel the challenges to post-Brexit Dover could well be on a par with those confronting the President. As a proud Dovorian, and an expat of over 40 years, I’m still leaning on the side of optimism…
      Barrie Wilson

  5. Phil T says:

    Thanks, Lorraine – Love it!

    Keep it coming, please.

  6. Alexander says:

    Congratulations, Lorraine!
    Having just read the introduction, it has become immediately evident that there is plenty of interesting reading ahead, to which I really look forward.
    I’ve bookmarked the link, which will give me instant access to The Dover Historian.

  7. Well done Lorraine!!!
    A very impressive website indeed.
    An interesting read & so easy to follow too, I will most certainly be looking in on a regular basis.

  8. Sabine says:

    I love what you guys tend to be up too. This type of clever
    work and coverage! Keep up the terrific works
    guys I’ve included you guys to our blogroll.

  9. Mary McConnell says:

    A very enjoyable and informative website and very well designed too! A great advert for Dover, I look forward to reading more in the future 🙂

  10. Well done! you have put so much time and energy into this project and I hope you get the recognision that it warrents
    John J Smith (Ex President Kearsney Bowling Club & Husband of Ann Smith whose picture was taken on the steps of Dover Town Hall, along with the Mayor Bill Newman and his Wife, my Ann died the year after at the age of 60, she was the skip of the winning rink up at Royal Leamington Spa)

      • peter says:

        Hello Lorraine I am looking for history of the two GPS Ross and Rutherford who had lived in the house called Bucklands at the bottom of old union road Dover in the 1960s can you help me please.

      • Lorraine says:

        Hello Peter

        The house you are referring to I have listed as a story: London Road 110 – in other words 110, London Road. The main reason being that there has been a number of houses called Bucklands in the vicinity and the house you are referring to has undergone several changes of name! Luckily, it has not succumbed to redevelopment although it has, in the past, been subjected to a history rewrite in order to justify demolition and redevelopment. This is a typical ploy that is even used for buildings that have been Graded by English Heritage and motivated me into setting up this website!

        Kindest regards


  11. mobile games says:

    I am curious to find out what blog platform you are utilizing?

    I’m experiencing some small security issues with my latest site and I’d like to find
    something more safe. Do you have any suggestions?

    • Lorraine says:



      • Anne Wiltshire says:

        Hello Lorraine I found your site by typing In Luke Pepper Doer Kent and noted your article regarding this family. Am I able to obtain a copy of this article I am happy to pay if required as this is an ancestral line of my husband. I would of course comply with any copyright requirements With thanks Anne

      • Lorraine says:

        Hi Anne

        Thank you, the Pepper story that I have uploaded is much more detailed than the published one so I am sure that it will be of more interest.


  12. On July 19 1898 the writer Emile Zola crossed the Channel from Calais to Dover ending up in Victoria at 5.40 a.m. Can you confirm that he landed in the old Dover Harbour station, the one with the shortened tower, still standing?

    Michael Rosen

    • Lorraine says:

      Hi Michael

      He would not have embarked at Harbour Station but almost certainly on Admiralty Pier. From there, if he held a LCDR ticket he would have been scheduled to go to Victoria Station from Harbour Station. Parts of Harbour Station still stands and it still has the remains of what was the Clock Tower – I have uploaded a story directly connected with it and plan to upload a story on LCDR later.

      does that answer your question?


      Does that

  13. My brother suggested I might like this blog.
    He was entirely right. This post actually made my day.
    You can not imagine just how much time I had spent for this info!


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    • Lorraine says:

      Thank you for the kind comments – much appreciated.

      The main reason my work is not well thought of in Dover, England, is explained in a story that will be uploaded on 14 June (date significant as it is our eldest daughter’s birthday). It is entitled Mary Horsely plus Transparency. It looks at why Dover was one of the wealthiest towns in England back in the late 19th century and now, giving one explanation with uploaded hard evidence. The story is based on personnel experience that led me to being blacklisted and for another local historian giving up their website.

      I do hope that you will read it and carry on reading my other work for although Dover, superficially, doesn’t look too great it is chock-a-block full of history that is well worth exploring and that is what my website is all about.

      Thank you again


  15. dave weddle says:

    Hi John, very informative as usual, Dave Weddle

  16. Bret says:

    It’s very simple to find out any matter on web as compared to books,
    as I found this piece of writing at this web page.

  17. Norma temperton says:

    My husband and I recently visited the Farthingloe Battery where my Dad was stationed in the early part of WW2, because he was too young to be sent abroad. He later was sent to Crete and became a Prisoner of War. After 4 years as a POW he escaped. The story can be found on line under Private Ronald Wollaston. It was lovely to go up on the cliffs at Dover and sense what it would have been like for him. Besides the worry of war, there was the comradeship and as he loved nature, it was a beautiful place to be stationed. He would never have believed that his daughter would have visited there over 60 years later, as he was then only 18. Thank you for your website. Norma

    • Lorraine says:

      Thank you Norma. Of interest, my Dad was in the Signals and was stationed in Dover, during the early part of the War. He then went to Malta, for two years, then north Africa followed by Crete where he too was captured. Lorraine

  18. Barbara Male says:

    Hello Lorraine. Thank you for a very interesting website. The wonderful article you wrote about the Hills coach building business was sent to me in Australia by a distant relative in England. I am descended from this family and have written a book about the Hills, a copy of which is in the Dover Library. I noticed in your article that Clement Hills came to the Melbourne Exhibition in Australia. In the shipping indexes it mentions a Mr C Hills and Mr Bucknor came with the carriages. Clement would have only been about 18 at this time. Barbara..

  19. shea says:

    Lorraine I am looking to find out information about Jewish life in Dover through history – are you able to point me in the right direction?

    • Lorraine says:

      Hello Shea
      Before World War II (1939-1945) there was a thriving Jewish community in Dover and their story is one that is among the 200+ stories I have still to write up and upload.
      Briefly, the Jewish synagogue was erected in Northampton Street – north-east of Wellington Dock – in 1863 and consecrated by Rev. D Adler. It was thriving in 1939 but due to incessant air-raids it was disused by the evening of Sunday 6 September 1942, when it was badly wrecked. There is a Jewish cemetery along the Old Charlton Road between St Mary’s and St James’ cemeteries. The Dover Museum may be able to help you with further information.
      I hope that this snippet is of help.

  20. Mike Pearson says:

    Hi I, I was led to believe it was originally a hospital during WW2, I was there as a Junior Leader in74/75, hope it helps, Mike Pearson

    • Lorraine says:

      Hi Mike

      The first part of the Old Park story will be uploaded on 15 November and the second part, that covers Junior Leaders, on 22 November.
      Thank you


  21. Eric Martin says:

    I was stationed at Dover between 1967-1969 with the Junior Leaders Regiment Royal Engineers at Old Park Barracks. What a brilliant time I had. It was hard but very enjoyable time. I have always remembered Dover. Very friendly people.

    • Lorraine says:

      Hi Eric

      The first part of the Old Park story will be uploaded on 15 November and the second part, that covers Junior Leaders, on 22 November.
      Thank you


  22. Anthony Sansum says:

    Excellent, as always!!!

  23. Mr Neil Bennett says:

    Hello (again), Lorraine…In ‘Dover Fire Service Part 1’ I would be careful in using the phrase ‘State of the art’ referring to the Merryweather fire engine which Dover bought in 1899. This was a manual fire engine, requiring a number of men to pump it and horses to draw it. Although manual fire engines had continued to develop and improve up to the turn of the century, steam fire engines (horse drawn) had been available since the 1860s. The steam fire engines admittedly were more expensive and required a good water supply. Merryweather’s ‘flagship’, announced in the very year 1899, was the steam ‘Fire King’ self-propelled fire engine which needed neither pumping men nor horses, and would truly have been ‘state of the art’.
    Best wishes for the continued success of this brilliant web-site!

    • Lorraine says:

      Thanks Neil

      Communication at the time of Dover Corporation purchasing the Merryweather’s fire engine was much narrower than today so when it was bought, they either believed it was ‘the state of the art’ (the write up of the time ran into several paragraphs but that is what they amounted to) or that is what they told the rate paying folk of Dover, who would have believed it as they were balking about the cost of buying another fire engine. As a local historian, I try to convey things as they were, parochially, at the time and I am grateful for others to come along, when I don’t do it, and say, ‘well that might be applicable to Dover then, but in reality it was entirely different‘, as you have. Especially going on to give details, such as you have given Neil. Thank you and for your kind comments.


  24. Richard VandeWetreing says:

    Dear Lorraine

    what an useful website. May I ask a few questions of you and your readers?

    I am a political scientist/historian at the University of Western Ontario, and I am working on a life of Chauncey Townsend (1707-1770), London merchant (trading to America), government contractor, mine developer, MP, and investor in privateering.

    Townsend was linked to several privateering ships, including the “Eagle”– a very successful ship out of Dover and commanded by John Bazely/Bazeley of Dover. It may have been succeeded by the “New Eagle”, though newspaper accounts seem to use the names interchangeably. Kew HCA 25/32 says that Bazely, Townsend, and Thomas Law (Townsend’s clerk) stood bail for the ship. I therefore assume that Townsend had part ownership of the Eagle.

    Bryan Williams of the Dover Museum provided me with the following information on Bazely from the “Annals of Dover” by John Bavington Jones (page 314) relating to Dover’s Mayors and their Times:
    “John Bazely previous to his first Mayoralty, made himself famous as the captain of the privateer “The Eagle” He had adopted this career owing to a Royal Proclamation, issued in 1743, which sanctioned and encouraged privateering as a help to the nation’s cause. When John Bazely was chosen Mayor in 1756 he was an important man, and five years later (1761) when he was again Mayor his good reputation had ripened. He took the lead in sending a petition to Parliament to secure a larger share in the tonnage dues to carry out necessary repairs to Dover Harbour and in his second Mayoralty he succeeded in piloting through Parliament clauses in the Turnpike Bill.”

    May I ask a few questions?

    1. do you or your readers have any material related to the “Eagle” or “John Bazely/Bazeley”? I would like to establish if Townsend was in practice a co-owner of the ship, and for how long.

    2. do you or your readers know of any local specialists on 18th century Dover shipping?

    Yours Richard VandeWetering

    • Lorraine says:

      Hello Richard

      Thank you for your kind comments and yes I do have plans to write a story on Dover and privateering that will include the Bazely’s. The John (1699-1763) you are asking about was the Mayor of Dover 1756-7 and 1762-3 and in his second term of office had Dover‘s Biggin Gate demolished for which there is a plaque on the site. John was also a privateer and his ship was the Eagle. Privateers were a legal for piracy and I plan write a story on Dover but at the moment it is in note form.
      Of interest, John’s son, also called John followed a seafaring career and eventually became the Admiral of the Blue and his son, John became a Rear Admiral and son Henry a renowned sea captain.


  25. I read this piece of writing completely concerning the resemblance of newest and previous
    technologies, it’s amazing article.

  26. Dear Mrs. Sencicle,
    I have found your website ‘The Dover Historian’ really interesting.
    William Johnson Cullin, the shipbuilder of Cambridge Road, is my great grandfather, and clearly the 17th century Mayors of that surname are also my ancestors.
    My 3 x great uncle James Cullin was landlord of the Two Brewers public house, Limekiln Street, at the time of the 1851 census.

    Yours sincerely,

    Graham Cullin.

  27. Lanagene says:

    hi Lorraine
    I love Dover so much character and so much fun to read about its exploits as
    my west family were smugglers in and around Folkestone and Dover
    Im from Sydney Australia my 3x great grandfather is the one who went to Dover Gaol in 1820
    but i wont to know how can I link your fab page to my ancestry page .
    Do I need a http#
    cheers Lanagene

    • Lorraine says:

      Hi Lanagene

      I am delighted with your e-mail and it is interesting to hear that your 3xgrandfather was one of those who went to Dover gaol. I would be pleased if you have more information on him such as if he was one of those who was transported.


  28. John horsley says:

    Lorraine, I would be interested in seeing the evidence supporting the statement in your article that Mary Horsley was born in France. Our family has a lot of its history documented and this is not included. Look forward to hearing from you.

    • Lorraine says:

      Hi John
      Thank you for your enquiry regarding the birthplace of Mary Horsley. First of all I will say that I am not a family historian and only chase such details up as and when they are relevant to the story – as Mary Horsley’s birthplace is, in this case. Before starting out on my research I was well aware from local family historians that Mary was born in Dunkerque, northern France, about 1847. That her father, John William Horsley, was the Priest-in-Charge of the Anglican congregation in that town. In case Mary’s mother, Susannah, had returned to East Kent from where she came, for her confinement, I did check up the relevant decimation. On repeated census returns – that can be seen at Dover library – it is stated the Mary was born at ‘Ville of Dunkirk’.
      I hope that this answers your question

  29. Yvonne Lynn says:

    Hello Lorraine I have just been reading “Dover Public Library – the Long Road to Winning” where you mention my Gt, Gt uncle Archibald Wilson who was one of the founding members of the Dover Institute. It’s a long shot but I just wondered if you have come across a picture of Archibald as apparently “it was the custom to place portraits of past-presidents in the reading room” [Dover Express 10/2/1911.] I would dearly love to see a picture of him and I did try the Library but they said that they didn’t have any knowledge of this painting.

    • Lorraine says:

      Hi Yvonne

      My guess is that the painting you are referring to of Archibald Wilson was hung in the library that was destroyed by enemy action during World War II. However, I have put my feelers out and if I come across a definitive answer will come back to you.


  30. Christine Walton says:

    Fantastic site thank you I went into the Dover Library and they gave me your site in hope that you can help, between the windows of 43 Biggin Street there is a brown bear would you know anything about it? this has fascinated me since I moved here 5 years ago but no ones seems to know why it is there.

    • Lorraine says:

      Hello Christine

      The brown seated bear you are talking about, on the west side of Biggin Street near New Street, has, in the past, been a white bear!

      He was almost certainly put there after the widening of Biggin Street in the 1890s. Number 41 Biggin Street at that time was the premises of William Masters – hairdresser and umbrella maker. The seated bear, which probably once held a striped barbers pole, was the trade-mark of ‘Bears Grease’, a very popular hair oil until the 1920’s. Of Note before world War I William Masters moved across the road to 38 Biggin and the fledgling store Marks and Spencers moved in! Albeit, the bear stayed in situ and is still there even though he does occasionally change colour!


  31. Brian Walton says:

    Hi Lorraine, Christine’s Husband Brian chatting, since she wrote I have found out some other facts. The number 43 for this shop is shown on the map held in the Library, not 41, and you are right about the Bears Grease, but it was not an oil, Bear’s Grease was made from the fat of the Brown bear mixed with beef marrow and then perfume added to disguise the smell. It was very thick and often had a nice colour added to it to make it more pleasant to the eye.

    • Lorraine says:

      Hi Brian

      Thank you for the added information. The number of the shop that I gave is that listed in the trade directories 1902 +/-5years and I guess the map you are referring to is the pink insurance map – there are other discrepancies between the two sources and also over time in trade directories. This is due to new build, demolition and renumbering amongst other reasons. I tend to avoid quoting property numbers for that reason but, as in this case, I was trying to make another point – the hairdresser moved to the opposite side of Biggin Street and Marks and Spencers took over his former establishment.

      The colour of the bear was, as you correctly point out, brown – as it is today or at least this afternoon! I am sure that you will agree that not long ago the bear was white!


  32. Roland Brown says:

    Latecomer to Dover Historian and Lorraine Sensicle. I live in France and find it hard to unearth material for my own interests. I note Lorraine’s article on Dover Theatres (the first part) and see no mention of Charles Mate, who was a bit of an actor and owned a theatre on and off in Market-Place from 1786 until – when? I’d be grateful for any information about Charles Mate (it seems that he was a sailor early on in life); but my principal interest is in him as a printer and this time of his life looks to have been after he finished with the theatre. Hence the particular enquiry about when he stopped working in the theatre.

    I know that he printed broadside ballads during the second two decades of the nineteenth century and that he died in 1825. Was he still a printer at that time?

    Can you help?

    • Lorraine says:

      Hi Roland

      The reason that I have not mentioned Charles Mate in story of Dover’s theatres is because I did not – and checking again, cannot find any reference to him in that capacity … sorry. HOWEVER, there was certainly a Mate family who owned a printers and stationers business during the Napoleonic Wars in the area east of the Market Square. They printed Wellington’s battle orders prior to Waterloo between 1814-1815. You say that Charles Mate printed ballad sheets – my Pigot of 1824 lists a Charles Mate – printer/bookbinder in Market Square, I suspect I can assume that this is the Charles Mate you are talking about. If you have any more information, I would be grateful to see it.

      Thank you for your interest in my website.


      Kindest regards


  33. Darrel Welch says:

    Hello Lorraine,
    I was going thru some family papers and noticed several of my ancestors listed as Mayors of Dover.
    I was looking for information to confirm that.
    William Warren 1493
    John Warren 1525-1540
    Thomas Warren

    Any suggestions


    • Lorraine says:

      Certainly the Warren’s that you mention were Freemen and subsequently held important Offices in the town of Dover.
      – William Warren was Mayor in 1492-3 but I have no other notes.
      – John Warren was the Mayor in 1525-26, 1536-37 and 1540-41. As Mayor, John Warren was part of the 1540 Commission of Inquiry on Dover Harbour for which profuse thanks was given by Henry VIII but little else. From 1529-for ten years he was one of Dover’s two representatives (MPs)in Parliament.
      – Thomas Warren was Mayor from 8 September 1549 until 31 December 1550 when he was removed by the Privy Council. In 1559, he landed himself into trouble during the reign of Queen Elizabeth for being disloyal and fined £4. Nonetheless, from that year until 1571 he was one of Dover’s MPs!
      You certainly have some interesting ancestors!

      Kind regards


  34. Ron Penn says:

    Thank you Lorraine for your great articles. I have lived in Sydney, Australia for the past 72 years, but have several big interests in Dover. During the period December 1944 – July 1945 I was based at the Royal Navy barracks (HMS Lynx) located in the old Oil Seed Mills and I worked in a ration store almost immediately across the road in a warehouse alongside Granville Dock supplying the various small naval ships based there. I therefore found the information re the old oil mills of particular interest.
    My other big interest is that I have traced my branch of the Penn family as having lived in Dover from at least 1766 to !956. My great uncle Mark Clark Penn, who never married and died in 1956, was as far as I can discover, the last remaining member of the family. In 1988, I visited the birthplace of my grandfather Harry Penn in Dour Street and was made welcome by the resident of the house at that time.

    • Lorraine says:


      Glad that you find the website so interesting particularly in relation to your war time srevice. You say that Mark Clark Penn was the last surviving member of your family that lived in Dover from 1766 to 1956, however, I noted in my story on Crabble Ground and Cricket that the fast bowler Chris Penn (b1963) played there. In 1978 he became Dover Schools’ cricket captain and also played for England boys. In 1982, he made his debut for Kent against Glamorgan and played for Kent until 1994, when he was forced to retire through a shoulder injury. Are you any relation?

      Kind regards


  35. susannah richter says:

    Fascinating article on the history of Farthingloe.

  36. David Todd says:

    Your research and attention to detail is excellent,even though you may have to summarise.
    I am trying to research Dover Railways and building a 4mm model representation of Dover Priory
    at present , along with the Shakespeare section of line,the section that Network Rail is currently
    working to repair.
    I would like to find out the trestle viaducts designer/builder, costs etc,and relevant history.

    • Lorraine says:

      Hello David

      I have gone through my papers and also checked in Dover Library yesterday (Saturday 23.January 2016) regarding who built the trestle viaduct along Shakespeare beach in 1843 for the opening over the South Eastern Railway London – Dover Line in 1844. The only conclusion I can come to is that it was built in-house by the Company, under the supervision of William Cubitt, their engineer, and his assistant Mr Hodges. The major problem encountered was on 10 October 1843 when the viaduct was destroyed at high tide by severe weather. Alterations were made in the design /sea protection and the project went ahead.

  37. Lez Miller says:

    This site has just been forwarded to me by a friend in Dover. I was first interested in the town when staying with a cousin in Belgrave Road. She was married to Ted Pollington, a popular and respected police man there. This would have been in the mid thirties and together with their son Jack, we explored the heights above Belgrave road. I was thrilled to be able to look down onto the draw bridge, complete with a soldier on sentry duty. Alas it is no longer used for that purpose, likewise the entry gate on the seaward side of the barracks that has been demolished.
    In 1955 my wife and I bought our first brand new house in Mount road. It cost £1,650, well fitted out with wood block flooring and oak thresholds on the ground floors. A silly price by today’s prices but it still needing some finding to pay it off each month.

    • Lorraine says:

      Hi Lez

      Lovely to read about your memories. The Heights were special but following the demolition of the barracks up there, they were used as dumping ground – and not only by locals. I still vividly remember going there when the Planning Inspector was doing his tour during the Inquiry that I instigated. When we arrived, his initial comment was on the surreal beauty of the Heights. Then a great lorry came round the corner and dumped a load of broken builders’ rubbish! These days’s volunteers have spent a tremendous amount of time clearing the whole area and doing their best with very limited resources. Ideally, a combination of English Heritage, Kent County Council and Dover District Council should take it upon themselves to turn the area into a national heritage site but …

      Yes, I agree about house prices especially meeting mortgage repayments.

      Thank you for sharing your memories


  38. The Lamb Family of Dover – family information:
    Charles lamb 1779-1869 12 snargate street dover chief magistrate buried in cowgate cementry
    married mary johanna hindley 1796-1856 in 1817 st marys church dover. lots of children
    osborne 1818-1899 married annie griggs 1814-1889 daughter of henry griggs 1780-1851 . they had lots of children including herbert william lamb 1844-1922 married louisa dye in 1850-1929
    he was the 3x great great grandfather of my husband gerard lamb 1961-2014 this family is related to aexandra graham bell his gt gt grandmother mary starr her sister catherine married john lamb in 1747 st marys dover kent

  39. David M Harvey says:

    Lorraine. Your articles about the history of Dover make interesting reading. However I am rather disappointed that I cannot find any reference to Dour Iron Foundry (later to become the Dover Enginering Works) that was located in the centre of the town since the 1750’s. Dover Engineering Works was a major employer in the town and the GATIC engineered manhole cover developed by its owner Vivian Elkington in 1928 achieved international acclaim as the premier engineered access cover and still retains that status today although the company operates from a site in Poulton Close.
    Covers bearing the name DOVER ENGINEERING, ELKINGTON or GATIC were installed by all the major utilities, oil companies, airports, seaports and power stations around the world so that wherever you travel today the chances are you will come across one or more of the world famous covers.
    It is a shame that one of Dovers major exporters is seldom recognised in the historical articles concerning Dover.

    • Lorraine says:

      Hi David

      There are about ten times as many areas of Dover that I have not covered as yet, but given the time they will .. at the moment I am starting on the Mills – neither the grain or the paper mills are covered while the packet industry, the railways, the packet and passage industry, health and hospitals, schools, Mayors and the Courts are all waiting to be looked at in depth. This takes time to give each subject the depth they deserve. The alternative is to do thumbnails on each topic but that is not the remit of doverhistorian.com

      I hope this explains why but I can assure you that Dover Engineering Works are high agenda.



    • Bill baines says:

      There was a iron foundry on snargate street next to the gran shaft on the right side facing the docks in the 50 and 60 yours bill baines

      • Lorraine says:

        Hi Bill and David

        Reading David’s initial correspondence, he was talking about Dover Engineering works, which was on Charlton Green. I have written a piece on the Engineering Works and this can be seen in my article in the Dour PartIIb – the lower Dour.


  40. EricGoddard says:

    Hello Lorraine

    I was at the Duke of Yorks Royal Military School from 1954 to 1961. The area between Dover Castle and St Margarets Bay, which includes the old Chain Home installation at Swingate, was a popular area for us boys to explore on Sunday afternoons. We were not allowed to go into Dover without special passes so we explored this area instead.

    At the time I was there there were only three of the big steel towers which then still had the horizontal bays. There were still four of the smaller wooden towers but they had gone when I visited in 1986. The path to the clifftops was right opposite the main gates to the school on the Dover to Deal road and went between the two sets of towers.

    I recall exploring some installations in the face of the cliffs. There were brick tunnels and rooms but they were derelict at the time and when I think back I shudder to think that we may have been in danger of them collapsing on us. We were told that they had something to do with World War 2 but we thought the sound mirror installations were places where radar dishes had been installed.

    We explored all around this area back as far as the nearby village of Guston. We found a lot of grassed over mounds and concrete bases. I never knew what they were until many years later when the TV programme about Churchill’s big guns was shown.

    An interesting set of coincidences occurred when I left school. I applied for a student apprenticeship at then Ministry of Defence Royal Radar Establishments College of Electronics in Malvern. I attended an interview in London and before I had left the building I was surprised to be asked back to the interview room where I was offered a place. It turned out that one of the gentlemen on the interview panel had been doing research work on the TV link across the English Channel which was installed on the big towers. He knew about the good educational and discipline reputation that the school had and this had led to the offer.

    As you can see I now live in Australia but still like to occasionally look at things to do with Dover. Thank you for the information on the history of this area as it has filled in a few of the blanks.

    Best Wishes
    Eric Goddard

    • Lorraine says:

      Hi Eric

      First, thank you for telling me that the website fills in a few blanks – that is one of its functions. The other, of course, is telling people about the unique town of Dover, the history of which can be traced to the Bronze Age and because of the location, history is still being made.

      The Duke of York’s school still enjoys a high reputation and its story can be seen on my website. Also, the story of Swingate, where the towers you mention Eric, are. The wooden ones are long gone. The sound mirrors from World War I and the caves, mainly created under the cliffs during World War II, still exist and one of the caves is now open to the general public for escorted tours. The footpath you mention has been diverted and the building of the A2 has created difficulties in getting to the top of the cliffs (Langdon Cliff) from outside the Duke of Yorks. The most popular ways to get to Langdon Cliff is to climb the steep footpath from Athol Terrace by Dover seafront. Alternatively, by car up Connaught Hill, turn right on to the main Deal road and then take the first right turn just past the Castle. Follow the road round and past the Bleriot Memorial and up the cliff road to the National Trust car park at the top of Langdon Cliff. Or continue along the road towards St Margaret’s from where there are good views of the towers and the Duke of York’s as well as stopping places besides the different War Memorials.

      Hope that the stories of Dover will continue to interest and thank you very much for writing about your experiences of Dover.

      Kindest Regards


  41. Lorraine says:

    From Norman Johnson sent by e-mail
    Your stories of Dover and the East Kent Road Car Company reminds me that, several years ago, a group of us from the KESR got together and formed aThomas Tilling Group. One of the group owned a vintage Tilling coach, crash gearbox and all. On one occasion we loaded up with Pimms, picnic and wind-up gramophone for a visit to the Bluebell Railway. Lunch was enjoyed on the platform with records playing on the Gramophone. A good day was had by all. On the return we dropped into a cafeteria at Cross in Hand (near Heathfield). We were met by a somewhat officious manageress and were told, “We don’t take coaches”. “But there are only a dozen of us”. “Sorry, no coaches”. On of our party persisted, “But we are not a coach madam, we are a Road Car”. She let us in!!!

    • amywolfie says:

      I am searching for info about Dover Harbour in the 1670’s. Was there a formal dock there then? If not, how did ships land? Thanks!

      • Lorraine says:

        Hello Amy

        You asked:

        I am searching for info about Dover Harbour in the 1670’s. Was there a formal dock there then? If not, how did ships land? Thanks!

        An overview of the history of Dover Harbour can be read in the uploaded story: Dour River – Part I an Historical Overview and a number of other uploaded stories such as Shipbuilding part I, Waterloo Dock, Granville Dock etc.

        Briefly, the harbour moved to the western side of the Dover Bay at the end of the 14th century and 100years later Thomas Digges (c1546-1595) designed the base of what we can see today. Indeed by the beginning of the 19th century the harbour comprised of the Pent, the Bason and Tidal basin. During that time the general economy and other factors affected the harbour and in the period you ask about it was badly neglected.


  42. Paul Osborne says:

    In 1954 there was a “Feature film” created to publicise the new Harbour piers, terminal building and loading ramps: https://youtu.be/C_bLcTcvhjM?t=5m45s

  43. Chris White says:


    The photographer Charles Stephens Harris whose studio was at 77 London Road, Dover is related to me – his sister Sarah Maria Peacock Harris is my paternal grand mother. Sarah Harris’ husband James White and his wife are both buried in Woodnesborough Church Yard. I have a photo of Charles Harris. Would you want a copy to use on this web site?

  44. Bev says:

    Thanks so much for the in-depth info about the Cinque Ports Pilots! Many of my ancestors were these pilots and also Dover Pilots and Trinity Pilots so it is particularly interesting to me! In fact, doing family research I find that branch has been living in Kent for nearly 1000 years!

    • Lorraine says:

      Hello Bev

      How is Australia – in the depth of winter?

      I am pleased that you enjoyed the articles on the Cinque Ports pilots, feedback like yours makes it worthwhile undertaking the research! If you have anything to add or pictures that I can use, they would be every useful.


  45. Samantha parker says:

    My manna was born approx 1916/1919 with a twin brother there was another set of twins she was one of 12 kids her dad was Irish her mum died in bomb air aid her father married again.I think her dad was rope maker she got put in school for young ladies to learn to sew and cook at approx 17/19 she was put on board with her twin brother paid money and told to start a family and help build colony she got of in Sydney it was first fleet can u tell me anything her name I think Hilda last name Potter ? She changed it in Australia

  46. Maria Bailey says:

    Interesting read. You’re very talented Lorraine. Congratulations to you all on your website x

  47. Derek Lunn says:

    Hi Lorraine, my name is Derek Lunn, born in Dover in 1938 then moved to the North East of England in 1954. I am now just approaching 81 years but still have family living in Dover. I still have vivid memories of growing up during the war and have many stories I can tell including being in the Dover Hippodrome when it was hit and remember the act on stage at the time Harry Lauder. I would love to be able to correspond with any member who may be interested, yours Sincerely Derek Lunn

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