DOVER KENT ARCHIVES
PUB LIST PUBLIC HOUSES Paul Skelton

Earliest Nov 1956

Borstal Club

Latest 1999

Address

Borstal officers club

 

Again this was a club and not a pub, so outside of the research of Barry Smith, however, I am adding this one to the list as there is so much history attached to it, and I am hoping to gather more information.

The venue was opened by Lady Fox on 30th November, 1956, as the plaque below, kindly sent to me by Paul Wells, shows.

Borstal openeing plaque.

The date of A.D. 1898, is I am going to assume the date of the building, and another stone plaque, again kindly sent by Paul Wells, shows that it was laid by Field Marshall Lord Roberts of Kandahar.

The whereabouts of both the stone and opening plaque are unknown, if indeed the above survived the fire.

Borstal stone

 

I can remember the club well, as I was allowed to visit it as a guest member with my Uncle Bob Skelton who worked at the Borstal at one time as stoker in the boiler-house, and I also used to play Table Tennis against their Table Tennis team in the 1990's.

The view over the harbour was fantastic and it's just a shame that it couldn't continue as a club and had to close in 1999.

 

From the Dover Mercury, 3 July 2003.

Borstal Club

GUTTED: The club which is the subject of a planning application to turn it into a restaurant/pizzeria Ref: pd 439340.

Fire destroys prison club.

AN INVESTIGATION is under way into the cause of a fire that destroyed the former prison officers' club in Citadel Road, Dover, overnight last Saturday.

More than 50 members of Kent Fire Brigade tackled the blaze from 11pm to 5am on Sunday.

Eleven fire engines attended from Dover, Whitfield, St Margaret's, Folkestone and Ashford.

The bulk water carrier came out from Ashford and a turntable ladder was used to reach different parts of the building.

Dover fire station commander Simon Smith described tackling the blaze as "extremely difficult."

A police spokesman said: "It is too early to confirm but we are treating the cause of the fire as suspicious. We are awaiting a full report from the fire brigade."

An application to change the use of the building into an Italian restaurant/pizzeria is in the hands of Dover District Council planners.

A district council spokesman said: "We are currently discussing how to progress this application with the applicant."

Borstal fire Borstal fire Borstal fire

Above three photos showing the extent of the fire. Kindly supplied by Paul Wells.

From the Dover Express, July 3 2003. By ELOISE SMITH

Arson suspected in massive fire

AN INFERNO that reduced part of Dover's history to charred rubble is being investigated by police.

The blaze, at the old prison officers' club, Victoria Hall, took 30 fire-fighters more than eight hours to bring under control after the alarm was raised at about 9pm on Saturday.

Smoke was seen to pour out of the building, which has not been used since 1999. Five fire engines were needed to fight the flames, and a turntable ladder had to be borrowed from Folkestone and a water tanker brought in from Ashford because of the poor water supply.

Even so, the fire raged on into the early hours and was not fully extinguished until 5am. The building was left in ruins.

It has recently been subject to a planning application to become an Italian restaurant, although there had also been moves to make it a community centre.

Dover mayor George Allt said: "It's a terrible blow to the heritage of town and I hope they catch whoever is responsible for this act of arson.

"The smoke was seen right across the harbour on Saturday and from the pictures the building was totally destroyed. It's a terrible waste."

Borstal Club Fire

Chris Taft, from the Western Heights Preservation Society, said: "We are dreadfully saddened. The hall was built in the 1880's and Field Marshal Lord Roberts of Kabul laid the foundation stone.

"The building, like everything else on the heights, was of great historical importance and it is a great-shame."

The fire investigation section of the Kent Fire Brigade, scenes of crimes officers and a forensic scientist spent all day on Sunday and Monday morning examining the scene. Station officer Simon Smith could give no details but said detective work was continuing.

A police spokesman said: "We believe that the most likely cause of the fire is arson. The investigation is still in its early stages."

 

LICENSEE LIST

Closed 1999

 

If anyone should have any further information, or indeed any pictures or photographs of the above licensed premises, please email:-

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