DOVER KENT ARCHIVES
John Bavington Jones

Published in the South Kent Gazette, 7 January, 1981.

A PERAMBULATION OF THE TOWN, PORT AND FORTRESS.

PART 145.

 

TASWELL ESTATE

The streets on the Taswell estate were laid out in 1862, and that at the back of the church was called Church Street, but the Town Council, observing that there was a Church Street in St. Mary’s Parish, changed the name to Harold Street. This street extended, in the first instance, from Harold Passage to the boundary of the estate, where it joins the Crown lands at the back of the Roman Catholic Church, and it was afterwards extended to Godwyn Road. It is crossed by Taswell Street, which extends from Maison Dieu Road to the gates of Castlemount. Mr. William Crundall was the first to build on it, erecting, in 1865, semi-detached villas at the back of the church. Cowper Villa, the late Mr. J. L. Bradley’s house, next Taswell Street, filled up that side about two years later. Northward, the building was slower. A pair of villas at the extremity of the Taswell estate, overlooking the Catholic Church, were built by Mr. J. N. Tunbridge in 1872, and about a dozen years later the line on that side was completed. On the west side there were no houses, and in Taswell Street but one for many years, and that was the old St. Mary’s Vicarage which was built about 1887 as a private residence for Major-General W. H. Knight.

 

CASTLEMOUNT

Castlemount was a mansion standing in extensive walled-in grounds, having its principal entrance from Laureston Place. Converted into Castlemount Secondary School the building was badly damaged by fire a few years ago. The house was erected by Mr. W. J. Adcock for Mr. Robert Chignell in the year 1876 to accommodate his school, which he had originally founded at the site of Dover College. Castlemount House presented a fine elevation, with many gables, built of dark red brick and liberal stone embellishments. After the house was completed, Mr. Chignell had the extensive grounds terraced so as to form a succession of attractive lawns. The margins of these were planted with trees, and in a few years the barren hillside assumed a park-like appearance. Mr Chignell on certain days during the summer invited the public to promenade in his grounds, and it was the public appreciation of this privilege that suggested the idea of laying out Connaught Park.

In the early part of the 20th century Mr. Chignell disposed of his school to the Rev. T. A. A. Chirol, MA. The buildings were later acquired by a Roman Catholic educational society known as the Christian Brothers for use as a training college for teachers and those contemplating priesthood.

 

CASTLEMOUNT COTTAGES

Proceeding northward to the Maison Dieu Fields, the first building efforts were undertaken by the Dover Cottage Building and Improvement Society. The society, of which Sir Brook Bridges, MP, was the President, and the Rev. S. Tennison Mosse, Vicar of Buckland, the Hon. Secretary, was established in 1861 on the model of a Society founded by the Prince Consort at Windsor, “to improve the dwellings of the labouring poor.“ Soon after the society was formed it purchased from the Woods and Forests Department six acres of land adjoining the Dover Waterworks, for which the Society paid £1,500, and the result of their efforts may be seen in a row of 24 substantially constructed cottages, built in pairs, with ample air space on every side. These dwellings were called “Model Cottages.“ The same society built ten similar homes east of the river at Buckland.

 

GODWYNE ROAD

In selling the six acres of land to the Cottage Building and Improvement Society, the Department of Woods and Forests undertook to provide a forty-foot road approach thereto from Maison Dieu Road. This promise was kept in 1870, when Mr Alfred Matthews gave notice to lay out Godwyne Road, and to build 38 houses, including ten at Guilford Terrace. Godwyne Road, named after Godwyne, Earl of Kent, was designed as a wide thoroughfare planted with trees and margined by a good class of residences, some detached, others semi-detached, and some in blocks of three or four.

 

LEYBURNE ROAD

Branching southward is Leyburne Road, named after Roger de Leybume, who was one of the greatest of the Lord Wardens. Not only is this road wide, but the houses on the east side, commencing with Guilford Terrace, were built set back in gardens, giving ample space in front. Beyond these Castlemount Terrace, brought forward a little, was built in a massive, substantial style; and above that, standing alone on a plateau in the hillside was Chaldercot, originally built for his residence by the late Mr. W. R. Mowll, J.P. Beyond was a further detached home completing the east side. On the west side 27 houses were built, known as Leybume Terrace, the rear of the properties backing on to Leyburne Road. At the front were extensive gardens commanding an outlook over the western hills of the town. These houses, built by Mr. W. J. Adcock in 1881-3, were of elegant design, built of dark red bricks with balconies overlooking the front gardens.

At the northern end was built Godwynehurst School, a fine building in red brick and stone which is now a Y.M.C.A. establishment. The school was conducted from 1881 to 1897 by Mr. J. Stanton Wise, who previously had been a master at Dover College.

Leybume House was built in 1883 by Mr. Adcock for his own residence; and it was in this house, when he was Mayor, on the 25th of June, 1886, that Mr. and Mrs. Adcock received a visit from the Comte and Comtesse de Paris to acknowledge the hospitable reception given to them on their arrival at Dover. The remainder of the houses in the Maison Dieu Fields, which Mr. Adcock built at the same time, were the 22 residences in Harold Terrace. In about two years he built sixty residences on these Crown lands, making a good finish to an enterprise which had been in hand for about twenty years. Many of the terraced homes on the estate, however, have been demolished in recent years for redevelopment.

 

DOVER CASTLE ESTATE

The Dover Castle Estate, also a part of Maison Dieu Fields, intersected by Park Avenue, Salisbury Road and Castle Avenue, is bounded by Maison Dieu Road, Frith Road, Connaught Road and Godwyne Road, some of the best residential parts of Dover. The laying out was planned to give the houses ample grounds; the roads are wide, planted with trees which form pleasant avenues, and the situation is sufficiently elevated to be dry; yet it is well sheltered by the north-eastern uplands from cold winds.

 

Phoenix Taven

NEARLY a century ago this was Dover Market Square. The old Phoenix Tavern and music hall, the tobacconist and stationers adjoining, the lofty Carlton Club over a tobacconists* Waterloo House and the Antwerp Hotel opposite, all were decorated for two big events — the official opening by the Duke of Connaught of the new-look Town Hall and Connaught Park, in July, 1883. The Duke was accompanied by the Duchess of Connaught and the royal couple arrived by train at the old South Eastern Railway Station where they were met by local dignitaries and a guard of honour formed by the Royal Scots Fusiliers. With a cavalry escort the Duke and Duchess joined a procession of sixteen carriages through elaborately decorated streets to Connaught Park.

The route from Snargate Street was lined by soldiers and bandsmen of the Dover Volunteer Force, the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, Royal Irish Rifles, Royal Artillery and men of the Cinque Ports Artillery Volunteers formed a guard of honour at the park entrance. At the park the official opening was followed by the presentation to the Duchess of an ornamental silver spade, suitably inscribed and with a polished rosewood handle, for the planting of a commemorative tree near the pond. The spade was presented on behalf of the ladies of Dover by the Mayoress, Mrs Dickeson.

The procession then retraced its route down Park Avenue and made its way to the Town Hall via Park Street and Ladywell. At the Town Hall there was a guard of honour formed by the Dover Rifle Volunteers under the command of Captain Chignell. Lavish street decorations included a life-size replica of one of Dover’s early town gates, suitably decorated, at the Bench Street-Snargate Street junction, bunting and union jacks, and about 300 “Venetian masts“ which were tall flagpoles of varying heights swathed in strips of red cloth, giving a candy striped effect, topped with colourful banners. These were restricted to the wider streets of the town centre, Castle Street being particularly well decorated.

 

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