Sunday, July 30, 2006

Connaught Park, Dover

In 1883 an opportunity was taken by Dover Borough Council to lease an area of land below Dover Castle from the War Department. Formerly part of Dover Castle Farm, the hillside was to become a new amenity area for the town.

Connaught Park was born. A tree was planted to commemorate the opening by the Duchess of Connaught, and it still stands alongside the lake to this day, albeit a but larger !

"Connaught Park. This tree was planted by R.H. Duchess of Connaught on the opening of the park on 14th July 1883. Richard Dickeson Mayor"

Also alongside the lake is a fountain, a gift from E.F. Astley MD in 1883.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Aycliffe Cottages, Old Folkestone Road, Dover

The below postcard is likely to come from the 1920's and is simple entitled, "Aycliffe, Dover". At first I expected them to have been demolished as part of the A20 road project in the 1990's, but after enquiries on Dover Forum, it turned out they still existed !

Driving along Old Folkestone Road it was evident that the housing estate had sprung up during the past decades below the hills of the Western Heights. Research shows that in the 1930's they were called Aycliffe Cottage, numbers 1-8, on Archcliffe Road (Archcliffe Fort being a few hundred metres away). In the background can be seen one of moats of the Western Heights defences, below which can been seen the King Lear public house further down the road.

Today, the houses have been expanded and updated, but the core is more or less unaltered with the original porches. Outside the mud track has given way to the tarmac and cars. Sometime between 1939 and 1956 the road was renamed Old Folkestone Road a continuation of the road that lead toward Folkestone. In 1939 the residents of the cottages were as below, with the 1956 occupiers in brackets:-

1 - Roland Nix (as 1939)
2 - George Rogers (as 1939)
3 - Neville Wissenden (as 1939)
4 - Robert Haves (Henry Morris)
5 - Cyril Cloke (William Lazorek)
6 - William Lee (Thomas Britt)
7 - George Chesterton (William Englefield)
8 - William Gibbs (as 1939)

Monday, June 12, 2006

Dover Skating Rink

Dover Skating Rink was located on Marine Parade and the site is now the duel carriageway to the Docks, it more or less stood in front of Motes Bulwark.

Built on the site of Guildford Battery is was begun in 1909 and was opened by William Crundall on 13th August 1910. It had a floorspace of 25,000 square feet and had the largest spanned roof in Dover at the time. It was in direct competition with the Promenade Pier for a number of years, but had a similar fate.....

In World War One the site was requisitioned and became the site for the RNAS Seaplane station and used as a hanger throughout the War. Two further hangers were built and a slipway down to the beach. The date the other hangers were demolished isn't known, but the 'rink' remained in places as an industrial unit until the 1970's when the road widening project was put through.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Dover Promenade Pier

I will start with a part of the town's history which time seems to have forgotten, though it was a major attraction to the town in it's time "Dover Promenade Pier"

The pier was completed in 1893 and was originally 900 feet long. There were setbacks in the construction when a collision took place that destroyed the centre section. Finally in 1897 the pier was completed with a pavillion on the end.

Many events took place including skating, which was in direct completion with the Dover Rink (located below the castle) and regular concerts. In WW1 the pier was used as a Naval landing stage, but never again saw it's heyday and was demolished in 1927.

Many part of the pier were auctioned off including the ballroom floor, boards and gates. In fact parts of the gates themself are still in existance in the Weald of Kent.

Incidentally, Dover Promenade Pier also has a 'twin' ! Both designed by JJ Webster, Dover and Bangor Pier in North Wales still stands and the architecture is very similar...

Welcome to the new Dover "Then and Now" Blog !

Well, after a couple of years if editing I have recently moved a lot of my "Then and Now" pictures of Dover over to a new Flickr site (

LIfe started on the Planet Thanet when I explored the various tunnels in and around Ramsgate mainly (see new Blog Interests soon stretched across Kent when we joined the "Kent Underground Research Group" in 1990 where we attended sites all over the county and annual NAMHO conferences all over the county ( I later became KURG treasurer and Webmaster for a number of years.

When I started work in Dover my interests in the Western Heights fortifications grew, a site first visited a number of years before. Just as I was about to leave that job, I bumped into the author Western Heights Today ( and a couple of years later became the Treasurer and Webmaster of the Western Heights Preservation Society ( where after a couple of years, we now open the Drop Redoubt on an annual basis. I also became Webmaster for the Friends of Dover Castle ( for a couple of years too.

I soon found that there were many links between the history of the Heights and the Castle, which lead me to being more involved in the town's history and that led to the creation of Dover Then and Now, and to being a regular contributor of the Dover Forum (

It is from there that I now start this Blog of the events and history of the town whenever time allows me. I hope you enjoy it....