DOVER KENT ARCHIVES
John Bavington Jones

Published in the South Kent Gazette, 18 March, 1981.

A PERAMBULATION OF THE TOWN, PORT AND FORTRESS.

PART 165.

 

DANGEROUS HIGHWAY

The land from Chapel Hill onwards, facing the London Road, was vacant when the chapel was built, and was the property of Messrs Latham and Co., bankers. In 1846 this land was offered for sale, in eleven building plots of 30ft. frontage each, and at the extremity of the 330ft. so disposed of, the other land had recently been built upon by Messrs J. and P. Ayers. The elevated road had been made previous to this sale, and the conditions provided that the purchasers of these plots were entitled to use the road in front separating them from the turnpike road, and each purchaser was bound to keep in repair the road and the retaining wall in front of each plot. The land was immediately used for building purposes, and in a directory of Dover purchased two years later, some of the houses on the Terrace were mentioned as being occupied.

This elevated road, approached by steps at intervals from the main road, proved to be very dangerous to the public, and several accidents and deaths have occurred at various times from vehicles and persons falling over it. It was often suggested that a fence should be erected along it, but as such a work would have been the joint duty of the whole of the owners, they never undertook it. On the 7th of December, 1890, an old gentleman named George Packham fell over and was killed, on which occasion the coroner’s jury recommended a fence. No action was taken, and four years later, on the 22nd of August, 1894, a boy named William Pritchard was killed by the same cause, and after that the Corporation erected the present fence at public expense.

 

CHAPEL HILL

The houses on Chapel Hill date from the same time as Buckland Terrace, but before that time there were, on a higher level, Shooter’s Hill and George Street. The houses on Shooter’s Hill date from 1835, and some of the houses in George Street from 1838. The builder of this street was Mr George Pry (who also erected the Market and the Museum), and he gave it his own Christian name. At the back of what used to be the old Wesleyan chapel, and has latterly been used as a bingo hall, there is a narrow road under the hillside where, in March 1885, the land was sold by auction for building purposes. Mr W. J. Wiles, the purchaser, sent in to the Corporation plans for 16 cottages, which he proposed to build there; but the plans were rejected, being contrary to the bylaws with regard to the width of the proposed road, and the approach thereto. Mr Wiles being unable to use the land for building, refused to complete the purchase, whereupon an action at law ensued, commenced against him in the Court of Chancery, and afterwards remitted to the Dover County Court, where the verdict was in favour .of the defendant. At the north end of George Street, Erith Street and Herbert Street homes were built about 1840.

 

CRICKET FIELD

On the east side of the London Road, beside Beacons-field Road, there was, until about 1897, the Dover Cricket Meld. The cricket field was acquired by Mr W. J. Adcock and laid out as a building estate, the operations including the widening of Beaconsfield Road to its full width, and the formation of Leighton Road and Millais Road, adding to the town about sixty good class houses. Beyond these is Alexandra Place, of earlier. date, fronted with extensive gardens, and having an entrance from London Road. Balfour Road, laid out by Mr Warren, also about ten years ago, is a long thoroughfare, skirting the left bank of the Dour, extending from Beaconsfield Road to Cherry Tree Avenue, and containing more than a hundred houses. The approach to this neighbourhood was greatly improved by the erection, in 1903, of a permanent bridge over the Dour for vehicular traffic, forming a new connection with the Barton Road.

On the east side of the London Road, there stood on the corner of Beaconsfield Road the residence of Mr G. P. Pry, a son of the builder of George Street, but who deserves mention for another reason. He was a leading member of the Dover Town Council for about twenty years, during which time he took a very important part in the street improvement movement, and more than anyone else deserved credit for the introduction to Dover of the electric tram service.

Above the site of the old Wesleyan schools, which stood opposite the chapel on the Terrace, many of the houses date from the time when Buckland was a village. Several of them are evidently constructed of the red brick from Barham Downs, which owe their redness to having been burnt with wood fires. Most of these were private residences with trees and pretty foregardens, but are now advanced to the pavement with shop fronts. Six of them were once known as Lime Cottages, having a row of lime trees in front.

Just beyond what were Lime Cottages was a mansion with classic architectural features. This was the residence of the late Mr George William Ledger, who was the town clerk from 1826 until 1847, and who was Clerk of the Peace until his death in 1879, although he had been about twenty years non resident. After Mr Ledger left Dover this was the residence of the Rev Henry Fielding, a gentleman who was beloved for his good works and philanthropy, as were his daughters, the Misses Fielding, who carried on his work. There used to be ornamental grounds abutting on Buckland Terrace opposite, attached to this house.

 

CHERRY TREE LANE

One of the oldest houses on this part of the road is the ancient inn called “The Cherry Tree.“ This existed at the dawn of the 19th century, and took its name from a large cherry tree that stood in a garden at its rear. This was the first house in Buckland that was lighted with gas, in April 1847. That cherry tree also gives the name to the street round the corner, long known as Cherry Tree Lane, in which a century ago were the kennels of the East Kent Foxhounds. Since this thoroughfare was widened and planted with trees (not cherry trees) in 1895, it has been called Cherry Tree Avenue. The cost of the widening of this useful thoroughfare was £1,129.

Pacing Cherry Tree Avenue (west) the land was sold for building purposes in 1839, when the houses at the end of Buckland Terrace, called Erith Place, were built. The name was given to this place, and to the adjoining street, by Mr James Beale, a member of the Society of Friends, who built the large house at the comer for himself, he having been a native of Erith.

 

Barton Estate

This interesting photograph of the Barton Estate area. Cherry Tree Avenue and the William Kingsford mills and brewery, was taken 100 years ago by Mr G. Amos, father of a well known Dover photographer Mr E. G. Amos. As will be seen the site of the Buckland Avenue and Barton Road houses, which were built across the foreground, was then devoted to agriculture. The photograph was taken from the embankment of the Dover and Deal railway and the dark line of the hedge in the centre denotes the position of Barton Road. The photograph is believed to have been taken just before the railway line to Deal was opened on 14th June, 1881.

The dark object on the sky-line is Diggle’s Folly and the row of houses below this is Prospect Place. Below, and to the left of these houses is the nucleus of what is now Cherry Tree Avenue, facing the Fountain Inn. On the rear wall of one of the properties in London Road can be made out the name “Buckland Cherry Tree“ — the old Cherry Tree public house.

A few years before the photograph was taken the four sweeps of the Kingsford Brewery windmill would have been visible among the chimneys of the mills and gasworks at the foot of Coombe Valley on the right. On the glass plate negative there is visible on the left a white luncheon marquee erected on the old Dover Cricket Field at Beaconsfield Road, and the row of cottages in Alexandra Place.

 

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