Welcome to an archive of historic Dover articles

Lorraine

Lorraine

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

DOVER, KENT, ENGLAND

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

105 Responses to Welcome to an archive of historic Dover articles

  1. Garry Moore says:

    Hello Lorraine, I currently live in Florida. I’m not looking for you to provide any family research as I know that is not your roll, however, some personal family research shows that my ancestors – the Moores- are from Dover. Several of them left Dover in the mid to late 17th century and moved to the Quebec City area in what was then New France. I’m curious as to what particularly was going on in Dover at that time that may have led them to leave for New France. I assume that a large part of the reason was to find greater economic opportunity, and I believe that several of them went on to work for the Hudson Bay Company, but I’d welcome any light you can shed on this from the perspective of the history of Dover. I very much enjoy reading your stories about Dover, and keep them coming.

    • Lorraine says:

      At that time Dover was one of the most affluent towns in the country with a thriving shipbuilding industry, among other industries as well as a military garrison – see my story on shipbuilding part 2 and part 3. However, it was a time of international conflict and Dover was at the spearhead further, because of the town’s international contacts through shipping, emigration was very attractive way of expanding the horizons of the ‘little man’ and many emigrated and this may well have applied to your ancestors.
      Lorraine

  2. John V Langley says:

    I have discovered an entire new branch of the Langley family from Dover/Kent alive and well out in Australia. Were they transported I wonder? Who knows!!

    • Lorraine says:

      Thank you for letting us know. Quite a number Doverorians were transported and most of the names are on file at the Local Studies Centre at Maidstone. Before they were actually transported they spent time in ‘hunks’on the Medway/Thames and some escaped (aka Dicken’s Abel Magwich’ in Great Expectations). Many fom the Dover area ended up in Tasmania – giving the name to the city of Dover there! Good luck with your research and for keeping us informed.
      Lorraine

  3. buckyfore says:

    Hi, just started researching my family tree. Interesting to read the saga of the river paper mills. I think William Phipps is my great grandfather x 5. I know papermaking did run in the family for many years. My great grandfather and grandfather were both papermakers moving to Tuckenhay paper mill in Devon to work and live. The Phipps family are still in South Devon.

  4. robert wickings says:

    good day to you I must admit my contact with you on the subject of Dover modern history is well overdue
    My name is robert wickings I am 81+ years old I was born of a mother living with Grandparents in one of the Limekiln street flats (no 75 this arrangement was due to the fact that my father who was serving in the Dorsetshire regiment was a prisoner of war having been captured during the BEF retreat to Dunkirk .and remained so untill 1945
    I attended Pier County primary school followed by St Marys in the town followed by Barton Road Secondary Modern school (out of catchment for the Pier) but this was due to the fact that in the intervening years my Father had returned home and the family had been allocated a prefab on the newly established Buckland estate. I continued to live with my grandparents
    I eventually left school at 15 went o work in the Covered market at a butchers
    after that I went to work on the cross Chanel ferry TS Haladale for a couple of summers, then the Twickenham ferry followed by a move to deep-sea I served on a couple of ships returning home in 1958 only to be picked up for national Service having stayed on shore for more than the allowed 3 months. My Military career lasted 36 years and I ended up retiring as a Quartermaster major 18 of those years in the Parachute brigade in a Medical support unit I retired in 1994 worked until 2016 as a manager for a supported housing association now fully retired at my home in carlisle
    Main interest Royal British legion plus the rejuvenation of a local and old Corn mill brought back from a state of dereliction to once again producing commercially level flour
    Hope this wasn’t too boring

    • Lorraine says:

      Dear Robert

      Thank you so much for your valuable information on Dover throughout much of the 20th century.

      Its great.

      Kindest regards and thanks again

      Lorraine

  5. Derek Lunn says:

    I can’t believe that Robert Wickings seemed to have followed me around in Dover, my name is Derek Lunn, I also went to school at St. Mary’s then onto Barton Road Secondary Modern School, I am 82 tears of age. I also lived in a prefab on Buckland Estate, I had family who lived in Limekiln Street flats and spent many happy memories there playing. My brother was Captured on Crete and spent the rest of his service imprisoned and returned home 1945. I now live in Washington Tyne and Wear which is about a 1 hours drive from Carlisle where Robert now lives. It would be incredible to get in touch with Robert and reminisce the good old days. I have to admit I’m not sure I recall the name but we must have played together at school and possibly lived very close to one and other on the Buckland Estate. I still have family living in Dover, Hawkinge and Whitfield, many thanks for the letter it has really cheered me up in this very serious situation. Regards Derek Lunn

    • Lorraine says:

      Hi Derek
      It’s a small world and like Robert’s info, your information is of value, not only to myself but to my website’s readers – hopefully Robert will read it too!
      I note that you say that your brother was captured in Crete, my father was captured in 1943 in the Dodecanese, possibly in the same offensive.
      Kindest regards and thank you for your information
      Lorraine

  6. Tony Scott says:

    Lorraine, I am hoping to stay in Dover soon and I am interested in the town during the World Wars, I have obtained a copy Roy Humphreys book and I intend to walk around some of the sites he mentions. Are you aware of any other publications etc please that would help me identify relevant locations I could visit please?
    Thank you, kind regards Scottie

    • Lorraine says:

      Hi Tony

      I suggest you read my two articles, River Dour Part 1 and Part II the Walk, published on the website which takes you along the Dour valley … although the part covering the St James area has, since the articles were uploaded, been redeveloped that area was flattened during the War. These articles can be augmented with other articles on the website and as you have already discovered, Roy Humphries excellent book on Dover during WWII.

      By the time you come Dover Museum, in the Market Square, will have reopened and besides being informative on the history of Dover, the tourist information is situated in the entrance. There are also the Dover Greeters, volunteers who organise walks around Dover and can be contacted on 07712 581557, Email is dovergreeters@virginmedia.com.

      There are also specialised tourist attractions appertaining to WWII and of course Dover Castle, that was the nerve centre of Fortress Dover … the town and surrounds were all under military rule during that time.

      I hope that this is of some use

      Lorraine

  7. Tony Scott (Scottie) says:

    Lorraine, thank you very much for your prompt and informative reply, I will be delving into your blog and already planning a visit back to the museum and may well contact the Dovergreeters…. kind regards Scottie

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