DOVER KENT ARCHIVES
John Bavington Jones

Published in the South Kent Gazette, 13 August, 1980.

A PERAMBULATION OF THE TOWN, PORT AND FORTRESS.

PART 104.

 

HILL BECOMES PUBLIC

Further correspondence as to dedicating Military Hill to the public took place in November, 1862, when the Commanding Royal Engineer, on behalf of the War Department, offered to cede the road from York Street to Christ Church Schools to the town, if the town council would improve the approach to it through Worthington’s Lane, which was then a narrow thoroughfare. The town council, ignoring the suggested improvement of the lane, offered to adopt Military Hill if the War Department would make good the damage done by the extraordinary traffic arising from the fortifications works. The Royal Engineers retaliated by telling the town council that they would have to pay double the annual acknowledgment for the approaches to Union Row and Blucher Street. The military powers also had the impudence to stipulate that the council should pay £3 a year for the privilege of having their drains and water mains under the road. The latter claim the council promptly repudiated, the town clerk advising that the council were empowered by the Public Health Act to place their drains and mains where they were required.

Nothing further seems to have arisen respecting this moot point until 1868, when a new Commanding Royal Engineer, who probably had not read up the old correspondence, asked the town council, in a friendly way, to allow the Dover Police to assist in preventing an offensive deposit opposite Christ Church Schools; and incidentally the Commanding Royal Engineer stated that the War Department had no interest in the road between Christ Church Schools and York Street. Thereupon it was proposed by one of the councillors that the road should be taken over by the town, unconditionally, but a majority of the council opposed the-motion, and this public thoroughfare was still treated as a private road. After that time the military authorities never claimed the right to bar the road below Christ Church Schools, and without any formal dedication the free use and control of this road has been left to the Corporation.

 

CHRIST CHURCH SCHOOLS

Christ Church Schools, which used to be on Military Hill, were built in 1847-48. The movement for raising funds for that purpose was advocated in a public meeting on 25th September, 1846, by the Rev J. E. Bates, Vicar of Christ Church, Mr Edward Knocker, and others. A subscription list was opened, Mr J. B. Knocker was appointed treasurer, and before the meeting separated £230 was realised. The Ordnance Department gave the piece of land and in the spring of 1848 the schools were completed, the opening taking place on Monday, 13th March, 1848. The girls’ school was closed when the Astor Avenue schools were built by the town council but Christ Church School continued as a national school up to the last war when it was a victim of war damage.

 

Ariel shot Dover

Another aerial photograph from the Dover Express files which illustrates well the changes that have taken place in Dover over the past 50 years. It depicts a tremendous number of properties crowded round the Wellington Dock, the majority of which have disappeared since the war. In the right foreground is the old Esplanade Hotel. On the left of the Wellington Dock is the heavily built up area of Commercial Quay and Northampton Street backing onto Snargate Street, Prominent landmarks include the Snargate Street Methodist Church and the old Hippodrome Theatre facing the Wellington Dock. Above Snargate Street are the Adrian Street allotments with Cowgate Cemetery beyond.

 

Promenade

Above is a busy summer-time scene on the Promenade in front of the Granville Restaurant and Grand Hotel. In the centre is a Punch and Judy show booth facing rows of deckchairs.

 

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