DOVER KENT ARCHIVES

Sort file:- Dover, November, 2019.

Page Updated:- Wednesday, 06 November, 2019.

PUB LIST PUBLIC HOUSES Barry Smith and Paul Skelton

Earliest 1893

Grand Hotel

Latest Sept 11 1940

Wellesley Road

Dover

Pre Grand Hotel 1970s

Above photo, 1870s, kindly sent by Paul Wells. Before it became the Grand.

Grand Hotel 1891

Above photo shows the "Grand Hotel" 1891.

Grand Hotel 1903

Above postcard dated 1903 showing the Granville Gardens in the foreground.

Grand Hotel 1914

Above postcard dated 1914, kindly sent by Michael Lock.

Grand Hotel

Picture above kindly supplied by Sue Solley.

Grand 1923

Above postcard 1923, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Grand 1927

Above photo, 1927 kindly sent by Margaret Francis, who says:-  "The youngsters featured are my great Uncles Wilfred and Horace Rigden.

Wilfred - always known as Sonny - is 11 years old with his baby brother Horace (apparently called Dink) on the beach. ‘Little’ Horace went on to grow into the 6 ft 8 in Kent’s Tallest Fireman, who worked at Whitfield fire Station. He, by then, was referred to a “Tiny’ Rigden."

Grand Hotel

AN attractive postcard view of Dover lent by Mr Colin Gatehouse, of Friars Way, Dover. The card dates from the very early part of the century and beyond the Rifle Monument, provides a good view of the old Grand Hotel, a victim of bombing during the Second World War, with Granville Gardens In front and the former furniture depository of Hart and Company on the left.

Grand Hotel Gardens

Above photo, date unknown, kindly sent by Paul Wells.

Grand Hotel

Above photo, pre WW2.

Grand Hotel

Above photo, probably at start of WW2.

1899 regatta

Above postcard, kindly sent by Paul Wells, shows the "Grand Hotel" just above the left inset circle, and the "Burlington Hotel" can just be seen on the right of the "Grand". The postcard was released from the Illustrated London news 1899 showing the Regatta and Illuminations at night.

 

From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 28 August, 1891. Price 1d.

DOVER LICENSING SESSIONS

Mr. Woolaston Knocker applied for the renewal of the license for this unused hotel, and it was granted.

THE NEW HOTEL LICENSE

There was an application made by Mr. Frederick Finnis, for a provisional license for a new hotel to be constructed or converted out of Nos 1, 2, 3, and 4, Wellesley Terrace, facing the Granville Gardens. Mr. Martyn Mowll appeared to support the application, Mr. Minter apposed on behalf of the Licensed Victuallers, Mr. Armstrong of London, apposed on behalf of Mr. Walter Day Adams, Townwall Street, and Mr. Mark Knowles apposed on behalf of the Temperance Council.

Mr. E. W. Spain was called to prove the notices. He said he served the notices on Mr. J. H. Cooper, overseer of St. James', and on Superintendent Sanders, and he had seen the notice maintained on a conspicuous part of the premises in question, and on the New and Old St. James' Churches, on the Sundays 9th and 16th August, 1891. He also had the notice advertised in the Dover telegraph on the 5th August, and in the Dover Express on the 7th August. He also stated that the gross rating of the property in question was as follows – No. 1, Wellesley Terrace, 130; No. 2, 110; No. 3, 120; No. 4, 130; the rateable value for the four was 407.

Plans of the proposed building were put in.

Mr. F. Finnis was next called. He said: I reside at 12, Guildford lawn, and I am a timber merchant. I apply for the provisional license to enable me to open this hotel, which is to be constructed at Wellesley terrace, according to these plans. Our estimate of the cost of the hotel is 20,000. From my knowledge of Dover I think this hotel will be a very great boon to the town.

Cross-examined by Mr. Mark Knowles: The nearest licensed house is about 200 yards away. There may be three public-houses within 300 yards away. This would be a residential hotel, such as there was not at present in the town.

Are you going to have a tap attached to it?

Yes, I suppose we shall; we do not propose to pump our own water.

Oh! You know well enough what I mean; I am not dealing unfairly by you, and I will not allow you to make fun of me.

Mr. Mowll: You will see exactly what is intended by the plans before the Court.

Mr. Mark Knowles (continuing his cross-examination): Are you going to have an open bar?

It is not my intention to have an open bar where people may come and ask for a glass of beer, but I suppose you may apply at the “Lord Warden Hotel” for a glass of beer the same as at a public-house.

Do you intend to have any particular part of these premises set aside as a bar?

There is to be a luncheon room apart from the coffee room, but we do not intend to have an actual bar set out with three pretty barmaids at the back. The intention is that the place should afford refreshment to visitors.

Is there not ample accommodation already for visitors at hotels in the neighbourhood?

I don't know that there is within reasonable distance a place where a visitor could have a sandwich and a glass of beer.

Are there not three such hotels close by?

I do not think there is one near to which you could take your wife.

As a matter of fact I never take my wife to an hotel of any sort; you are quite right there. (Laughter.)

Mr. Armstrong here objected to the delay by speech making; he had come from London to oppose this license, and wanted to get back.

Mr. Mowll: If only these opposing gentleman are set by the ears we shall be all right.

Mr. Knowles said he only wished to ascertain, not having seen the plans, what was the character of the house that they were asking a license for. There was no necessity to jump down anyone's throat, and he was surprised at a gentleman from London doing it. (Laughter.)

The plans were then handed over, and Mr. Finnis, in reply to the Court, said the scheme included the four houses, Nos. 1, 2, 3, and 4.

Mr. Knowles (continuing his cross-examination): It is not intended to have a common bar?

What do you mean by a common bar?

There would be no difficulty in altering one of the sides shown on the plan so as to have a common bar, would there?

There would be no difficulty at all; but it would not be very attractive as it would be in the basement, underground.

Look at the elevation. Would it not be possible to afford access to the coffee room?

Of course it is convertible to anything you please.

Cross-examined by Mr. Minter: Do you say that there is no other hotel in the neighbourhood fit for visitors?

I do not wish to speak disrespectfully of other establishments, but I believe there is no other of this class.

Do you say that there is no accommodation at all in Dover of this class for visitors?

I think I am speaking rightly in saying that there is no hotel in Dover of the class I am speaking of, with a table d'hote or a place where you could bring your wife or daughter from Friday till Monday.
Is there not accommodation more than enough in Dover for all visitors? Do you mean to say that all the best hotels and places are now full?

I think they are doing a very good business. I do not think there is any other hotel offering the accommodation that we shall offer at this.

Is there not a building at the present moment licensed called the “Imperial Hotel?”

There is, but ours would be different from that.

Cross-examined by Mr. Armstrong: I suppose you do not intend to alter the present premises till you get your license?

No.

What is your interest in these premises?

My interest is a joint interest with my brother as the lessees of Nos. 1 and 2.

Is it your brother who is a Justice of the Peace that is interested in this property?

Yes.

Now who is the lessee of No. 4?

Mr. Alexander Bottle.

A capital name for the holder of a license. He is a Justice of the Peace, too, is he not?

Yes, and a chemist.

Do you intend turning this undertaking into a company? You do not think the “Imperial,” which is already in existence, would do?

I don't think it would.

Do you suggest that there is no table d'hote in Dover except the one that is to be provided at this hotel?

I don't state that it is an absolute fact, but I have resided in Dover for thirty-six years, and I am not aware of any table d'hote unless it be at the “Lord Warden Hotel.”

Are there not several houses affording the accommodation you mention in the immediate neighbourhood?

Not that I am aware of. There are several public houses.

Is not the “Shakespeare Hotel” within 160 yards?

I should have thought it over that.

And the “Sussex Arms” within a hundred yards, is it not?

I cannot say. What street is it in?

Oh! You say you have lived in Dover for thirty-six years, and you are evidently a young man that goes about. Is not the “Sussex Arms” in Townwall Street, within a hundred yards of this house?

It may be.

And is there not in Townwall Street the “Robin Hood” within ninety yards, the “Liverpool Arms” and the “Granville Arms” within forty yards?

They may be.

And is there not in the same street the “Imperial Hotel,” containing 400 rooms, unoccupied?

Yes.

Perhaps you would like to see the proposed front elevation of the proposed hotel, and compare it with the “Imperial Hotel.”

No, thank you; I have no particular interest in it.

What do you say that your interest or joint interest in these premises is?

It is a joint interest with my brother in Nos. 1 and 2.

Are you the freeholders?

No, leaseholders; it is leasehold property.

You have no interest in 3 and 4?

We have no actual interest, but we have provisional contracts nor purchase if we wish.

State what your interest in Nos. 3 and 4 is?

We have no offer to purchase at specific prices.

If you can get this licence I suppose?

There is no mention of the license.

Is the contract in writing?

In one case it is in writing and in another case it is verbal.

When were these provisional agreements as to 3 and 4 put into writing?

There is no writing in the one case. The present lease holder of no. 3 is Mrs. Field, widow of the late Lieut.-General Field.

And what is your interest in that?

I have a letter from her agent giving us the offer of the property at a specified price.

That is if you get the license?

Not at all.

Then as to No. 4, is that the property of Mr. Alexander Bottle, the Justice of the Peace?

Yes, of Mr. Bottle, Chemist, Townwall Street.

Mr. Mowll said that Mr. Tree, the Architect, was present, and would explain the plans if the Magistrates wished to ask any questions.

No questions were asked of the Architect.

Mr. Mowll then addressed the Bench. He said his application was for a provisional license, which meant that if the application was granted the Magistrates would sign the plans presented, and if the hotel were completed in accordance with those plans, the license would in due course be confirmed. There were opposed to the license three gentlemen representing different interests. The learned Counsel represented the temperance Party, Mr. Armstrong represented Mr. W. D. Adams, the holder of a license in Townwall Street, and Mr. Minter, the Licensed Victuallers. He could not see what ground the owners of the surrounding houses had to object to this new hotel. Mr. Adams was the proprietor of a place where they sold nothing but drink, and he did not think the other houses around were in the habit of supplying anything but drink, therefore there was no ground for their opposing this hotel which was intended for visitors. The rateable value of the premises would of itself be a sufficient guarantee that it would not degenerate into a drinking bar. They all objected to intemperance, and the Bench had declared their opinion that there needed a decrease of public houses in the town, but he thought that this was a case of house that even the Temperance Party could not object to. The “Imperial Hotel” had been referred to, but that was ten times too big for the necessities of the place, and was not so well situated as these premises.

Mr. Mark Knowles, on behalf of the Temperance Council, urged the Bench not to grant the license. The refusal would not entail any loss on the applicant as he had spent nothing on the building; there had been no case made out that the house was needed, and he thought the Magistrates would be well advised if they refused the license.

Mr. Minter said that the Licensed Victuallers, whom he represented, thought that there were sufficient licensed houses in Dover, and the Magistrates, by their declaration made that morning, seemed to be of the same opinion, therefore he trusted that the bench would not stultify themselves by granting this application. There was not the slightest necessity for this house shewn; there did not, in fact, the slightest necessity exist, and as Mr. Finnis was very well-known to all the gentlemen on the Bench, they would be acting as his truest friend if they refused this license and saved him his 20,000.

Mr. Armstrong, in addressing the Bench, contended that Mr. Finnis had no interest in a portion of the property for which he was asking for a license; in one case he had only some one's verbal offer, and in the other a letter which he had left at home. A question had been asked if there was to be a tap, and he disclaimed that all intentions of having one. That is what they were in the habit of telling the Magistrates in London when they applied for a license for a house of this character. They never admitted when applying for the license, that they should have a tap, yet they all did it. (Laughter.) He trusted that the Bench would refuse this application, and not stultify the resolution they had announced that morning by granting a new license for a public house.

Mr. Mark Knowles, on behalf of the Temperance Council, asked for permission to put in a memorial from inhabitants of the district, objecting to the granting of the license.

The Mayor: We cannot take anything but sworn evidence.

The Magistrates' Clerk: Then the memorial cannot be put in unless it is proved on oath.

Mr. Mark Knowles said it had been the practice of these Courts for many years to receive memorials on the question of granting new licenses.

The Mayor: We will give our decision in this case with the others.

The Mayor said: I will now read the decisions of the Magistrates in the following cases:-

The license for the new hotel applied for by Mr. Finnis, granted.

 

From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 2 October, 1891. Price 1d.

CONFIRMATION OF LICENSE

Mr. Martyn Mowll applied for the confirmation of the provisional license granted by the Licensing Committee at the Dover Brewster Sessions. He said: I am here to apply for the confirmation of the provisional license granted on the last licensing day to Mr. Frederick Finnis in respect of the block of houses in Wellesley Terrace, which it is proposed to convert into a first-class hotel. I see before me several gentleman who were on the Licensing Committee, and there are others who were not, therefore I hope that those gentleman who were there will not think it out of place if I just explain to the other Magistrates that it is in the intention of Mr. Finnis to lay out a large sum of money and to acquire such portion of the property as does not at present belong to him, and convert the whole into a first-class hotel, providing it with all modern requirements. I showed on the annual licensing day that such an hotel was needed in that part of the town, and I think the Licensing Committee were of the same opinion. The seaside at present lacks first class hotel accommodation. There is no doubt ample accommodation for commercial travellers and for gentlemen who require accommodation of that description, but there does need first class accommodation where a man could bring down his wife and family for two or three days, or for those who prefer hotel life at the seaside to apartments. It is believed that this “Grand Hotel” will supply such wants. It is placed in the centre of the Sea Front, overlooking the Granville Gardens where the promenade bands play, and is really in the best position that could be found. The Licensing Committee having granted this provisional license, I now ask you to confirm it.

The Mayor: Are the plans the same as were before the Licensing Committee?

Mr. Mowll: Yes; they have been deposited with the Clerk and signed.

The Mayor: Is it to be called the “Grand Hotel?”

Mr. Mowll: Yes.

The Mayor: The Bench will confirm the license.

 

From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday 3 February, 1893. 1d.

FIRE AT THE GRAND HOTEL

On Saturday evening a good deal of excitement was occasioned by a report of a fire at the “Grand Hotel.” A large crowd, some thousand strong, quickly assembled and found the police fire brigade on the spot. The fire had originated in the part of the hotel formerly, 4, Wellesley Terrace, from a devil which some plumbers had be using and had not extinguished, standing on some scaffold boards so that the heat might dry the walls of the room. Unfortunately the ashes set alight to the boards and burnt its way right through the flooring and dropped into the room below which has been used as a carpenters' shop and was littered with shavings which quickly caught alight. The police with a hose reel however soon extinguished the flames, and in less than a quarter of an hour from the time that the alarm was given everything was quite safe. The house was being dried and there were fires in every room, and a watchman was employed to attend to them, so that even if the fire had occurred at a later hour it would have been discovered before it had gained much of a hold. The damage has been estimated at 40and insurance paid for that amount, but there was also a large number of carpenters' tools which were destroyed and for which no compensation can be claimed.

 

Grand Hotel

THIS postcard view of the old Grand Hotel, which was one of the many victims of the bombing and shelling of the Second World War, being too badly damaged to be repaired, was lent to me with a bundle of others by Mrs Kidd. It Is viewed from a corner of Granville Gardens. The bandstand and adjacent pavilion was off the picture to the right. (I hope to use other cards later.)

 

It was a nice touch I thought that at the last concert of the season a trumpeter or bugler from the band would go to the Grand Hotel, climb the stairs to one of the upper floor rooms and sound "Last Post ".

 

Four separate houses of this terrace, built in 1846, were converted to provide this hotel which opened on 19 April 1893. Electric light, the eighth wonder of the world at that time, was installed in 1897 by the Dover Electric Light Company. They had based themselves on Park Street three years earlier.

 

An early casualty of world war two, it was struck on several occasions, initially on 11 September 1940 when one wing came to grief.

 

Post war, the Grand Hotel Company wished to rebuild but their repeated requests over four years were all refused. I take it that compulsory purchase was the end result. Certainly, Dover Corporation paid 4,300 for the hotel and a figure of 3,750 was mentioned in 1954, apparently concerning the garage in Townwall Street.

Grand Hotel from Camden Crescent

POSTCARD VIEW: This attractive view looking towards the old Grand Hotel and Dover Castle from Camden Crescent, about 1910 is from Mark Tapley's collection of old postcards. The photographer would have been standing with his back to Cambridge Road where the Tapley family's Central Garage was located. Note the veteran car.

Granville Hotel

Dating from the early 1920s is the view (above) of the Granville Gardens during a band concert. On the right is the entrance to the Promenade Pier which was demolished in 1927.

Grand Hotel

Information taken from Dover Express.

DOVER promenade, with the shore end of the old Promenade Pier on the right, pictured about 1910. Dominant in the foreground are the Grand Hotel, facing Granville Gardens and the "Granville Buffet bars" and, centre, left, the tall Burlington Hotel.

The blocks of elegant seafront houses were all swept away after the war to make way for the Gateway block of flats - with the notable exception of Marine Court.

The postcard picture turned up in the most unlikely of places. Mr Guy Crampton, who was renovating 120 Coombe Valley Road (formerly Union Road), which he recently purchased, found the card beneath the hearth stone.

The card is remarkably well preserved considering that it has been nibbled around all four edges by mice and has probably been lost for over 50 years.

The card was shown to me (Bob Hollingsbee) by Mr Crampton's motherin-law, Mrs D. Love, of Elms Vale Road, Dover, who says Guy would be interested to know if Gladys Bonnage, whose name appears on the reverse of the postcard, is still alive.

It appears that young Gladys received the postcard as some kind of reward for obtaining full marks in an arithmetic test in 1915.

 

From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday 18 January, 1907. Price 1d.

TODAY'S POLICE COURT

At the Dover Police Court this morning, there were neither any prisoners not summonses to be dealt with. An extension of an hour was granted “Grand Hotel,” on the occasion of the annual dinner of Messrs. Pearson and Son's employers on February 1st.

 

From the Dover Express, 21 January, 1910

The Grand Hotel were granted permission to sell at the Yeomanry Ball, to be held on 30th January at the Town Hall

 

From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 26 January, 1912. Price 1d.

EXTENSIONS

At the Dover Police Court this morning, before Messrs. T. A. Terson (in the chair), E. Chitty, and G. C. Rubic, the management of the "Grand Hotel" were granted an extension of an hour for this Saturday, on the occasion of a staff dinner, given by Alderman Henry Hart.

 

From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 23 February, 1912. Price 1d.

LICENSING BUSINESS

An extension of an hour was granted to the management of the "Grand Hotel" on Monday, on the occasion of a Masonic dinner.

 

From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 27 March, 1914. Price 1d.

LICENSING

The management of the "Grand Hotel" were granted  an extension on Wednesday, 25th inst., for the annual banquet of the Licensed victuallers.

 

From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 8 June, 1917.

ANOTHER LIGHTING CASE AT THE GRAND HOTEL

At the Dover Police Court on Monday before Mr. W. G. Wright and Dr. C. Wood.

Emily Clark was summoned for being in control of the lighting at the Grand Hotel, and not obscuring it.

Mr. Vosper said that the defendant was one of the staff of the Grand Hotel, and as it was her fault, it was not considered fair to summons the manager.

Police-constable Brown said that at 10.45 on Sunday the 27th, he saw a light on the fourth floor facing the sea. There was a green blind, but it was not drawn when he first saw it. The blind was drawn whilst he was going to the Hotel. He only saw it for a few moments but the complaint was made by an officer who saw it before.

The defendant said that all the blinds were drawn. There were four of them in the room, and they were all sure that the blinds were drawn at 8 o'clock.

Witness said he was certain that he saw it. The light was very bright.

The defendant said that she had only just gone up to the room.

The Chairman said that the exposing of lights was a very serious matter, and they were sorry that the defendant did not realize it. They must take notice of it, and she would be fined 5s. They trusted that the defendant and her fellow servants would be more careful.

 

From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 31 December 1937. Price 1d.

Christmas Dance 1937

Christmas Dance. A group taken at the Party held at the "Grand Hotel" on Boxing Night.

 

From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 14 January, 1938. Price 1d.

LICENSING EXTENSIONS

The "Grand Hotel" was granted an extension on the 12th inst. from 10 to 11 p.m. for a Rotarian social evening also an extension on the 20th inst. till midnight for a dinner and dance of the London Royal Mutual Assurance Social; and an extension on the 22nd for a social evening arranged by H.M. Customs.

 

BLACK WEDNESDAY 1940

There was a lull the next day, but on Wednesday, September 11th, Dover had one of its blackest days of the war when it was bombed and shelled simultaneously. Heavy damage was done in the town, and 16 people were killed and 62 injured.

The bulk of the damage from bombs was in a path parallel with the sea shore, crossing the “Grand Hotel” and Townwall Street. More than 26 bombs fell, and ten shells in all were accounted for. The air attack, carried out by a large number of Dornfer 215's began soon after three o'clock, and was quickly over, but the shelling went on until late afternoon. With aircraft always in the vicinity, too, Dover remained under a constant threat, and it was not until 9 p.m. that one “All Clear” was heard.

Long before that happened the Civil Defence had been fully mobilised to deal with this, its first major test, and while shells were still falling, rescue parties and volunteers were busy searching the ruins for the dead and injured. One wing of the “Grand Hotel” had collapsed, the Sailors' Home was a heap of ruins, and the “Sussex Arms,” and surrounding property in Townwall Street wrecked completely. Many were the efforts made to rescue trapped people, and one of the bravest was Stoker G. Lowe, who twice tunnelled into the debris to rescue people, and was subsequently awarded the George Medal.

The final death roll was not known for several days, because of the huge piles of debris which had to be moved and searched.

In fact, it was eleven days before some of the bodies were recovered from the wreckage of the “Grand Hotel” and the Sailors' Home in Wellesley Road. At the latter premises, the steward, Mr. William F. Clark, and his son, Mr. E. J. Cook, both lost their lives. When demolition squads had cleared away the rubble, the steward's body was found in the boiler house.

Grand Hotel after the raid

"Grand Hotel" after the raid.

 

From the Dover Extress and East Kent News, 27 September, 1946.

Grand Hotel 11th September 1940

Vacant since it was bombed on Wednesday 11th September 1940. Its fate is being decided by a Ministry of Town and Country Planning Inquiry being led at Dover today. The owners appealed when the Corporation refused to allow them to spend 38,000 on restoration because it was in the way of their plan for a new Sea Front. In the background on the left, is a bombed and shelled "Burlington House."

Grand Hotel damage

Above photo by kind permission of www.KentPhotoArchive.Org.uk showing the damaged left part of the hotel.

Grand Hotel War damage

From the Dover Mercury 13 December 2001.

Grand Hotel a victim of war

THIS was the scene on the day of September 11, 1940, after a stick of bombs hit the Grand Hotel just off the seafront on the corner of Camden Crescent and Liverpool Street.

Dust, debris and destruction where all that remained of virtually the whole of Camden Crescent although, in the midst of the rubble, four houses in the terrace remained standing.

The Second World War was just a year old - by the time it ended 2,400 bombs would have fallen on Kent. Records compiled at the time and used by Peter Erwood in his book "A Fury of Guns", the war diary of the 75th (Cinque Ports) Heavy Antiaircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery, Territorial Army, show that Wednesday was clear with a slight haze.

Out of that clear sky came a raid by Ju88s on the heavy gun positions behind Dover, which German guns, across the Channel were also shelling.

It was Sir Thomas Browne, writing 300 years earlier, who said: "...the fury of the guns and the new inventions of death; it is in the power of every hand to destroy us .."

Many enemy aircraft were seen heading towards London and many were out of range, but the Dover guns were still in action.

And German radio broadcast that this corner of England was the target of imminent invasion.

 

From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday 1 April, 1949.

THE GRAND HOTEL CORPORATION ASKED TO BUY

The owners of the “Grand Hotel” have served notice on the Corporation requiring the Corporation to purchase the premises provided for under the Town and County Planning Act, 1917. It will be recalled that permission to rebuild the hotel ahs twice been refused by the Corporation, and an appeal to the Ministry was rejected after a public enquiry in September, 1946.

A proposal, made at Tuesday's meeting of the Town Council that the hotel should be included with other properties to be acquired as soon as possible under the Central Area Compulsory Purchase Order was defeated.

The report of the Town Planning Committee presented to the Council contained the following:-

“We have considered a letter dated the 23rd February, 1949, from Messrs. F. B. Jevons and Riley, the Solicitors acting on behalf of Grand Hotel Co. (Dover) Ltd., containing notice to the effect that. In pursuance of s.19 of the Town and Country Planning Act, 1947, the Company required the Council to purchase their interest in these premises, and the Town Clerk submitted to us certain questions of law which, in his opinion, bear upon the validity of the notice. – We recommend that a copy of the notice be transmitted to the Ministry of Town and Country Planning in compliance with s.19 of the Town and Country Planning Act, 1947, together with a note of the question of law raised by the Town Clerk.”

When the report came up for approval Councillor W. Paramor said he would like to see the “Grand Hotel” included in the list of properties for which it was proposed to make immediate “vested declarations.” The owner had all his capital tied up in the hotel, and they were not telling him at all when he was going to get his money. It might go on for another two or three years; it was not at all fair. Could he move an amendment that the property be included in those for which they were to make vested declarations?

The Mayor: I don't think you can, because you will upset the whole of the Town Planning estimates which you have just unanimously passed.

The Town Clerk: I would not like to say it would upset the whole estimates. It would make a difference, but I think perhaps a false indication of the difference is created by your words. After all the expenditure involved is that face when you envisaged the expenditure which we are contemplating during the coming year.

The Mayor: If my memory serves me…..

The Town Clerk: You must not, of course, disclose any figures, Mr. Mayor.

The Mayor: Is not the position that the owners of the “Grand Hotel” is exercising his right under Section 19 of the Act?

The Town Clerk said that that was true, but he did not think that went to the root of the point before the Council at the moment. It was true that when they formulated the estimates now passed by the Council they had in mind thee acquisition of just those properties set out in the report, but they would remember that they did provide in the estimate for certain further expenditure as to unspecified properties. It would not be convenient in open Council to disclose the disbursements in regard to the “Grand Hotel,” but he thought it fair to say it would not effect the whole of the estimates of the Town Planning Committee. He did not, however, advise the Council to accept the proposal. There was, what he thought could be described as the governing principle in the letter from the Minister of Town and Country Planning which said that the Minister expected the land only as and when needed for the purpose of clearing the property for re-development. He thought that to accept the amendment proposed by the Councillor Paramor would be to run counter to the government principle laid down by the Minister that, except where special considerations applied, they should only acquire property as required for the purpose of clearing the sites for re-development.

“As I said of you at length,” continued the Town Clerk, “we must keep faith with these governing principles otherwise our grants are imperilled. It is for those reasons I don't want to elaborate on now I advise the Council not to accept the suggestion. We must keep to those governing principles.

The Mayor said that Councillor Paramor's was a perfectly proper amendment.

Councillor S. F. Kingsland seconded the amendment asking whether the case could not be cited as a special circumstance. The other night the Town Clerk spoke to them freely but he did not suppose any one of them to assimilated everything the Town Clerk said in his two hours talk. Surely some of the others were being vested because of special circumstances. Could not this one be considered a special circumstance so that the man could receive some sore of justice, because it did not appear to him that the man was getting real justice and fair treatment. He agreed that the other night they were given every opportunity to speak and interrupt the Town Clerk and question him but they did not, as the minute and consider the letter from the solicitors of the owner of the hotel. They considered a phase from a letter which the Town Clerk put towards them the phrase incorporating the notice requiring them to purchase. He thought they should give consideration to this as a special case because in some other instances they had for their own benefit vested properties in themselves.

The Mayor said the view he took was that Mr. Walker was exercising the right Parliament had given to people in his position under Section 19 of the Act. His request for immediate purchase had gone to the Minister, and if the Minister said “Yes, this is a case where you ought to purchase,” they would purchase.

“We do not need this expensive building at the moment for redevelopment,” continued the Mayor, “and it seems to me we are only complying with the Ministry's express wish that we should not acquire before need unless he suggests it. I take it, before long we shall hear from the Minister, and if the Minister says “Yes, this is a case where you ought to buy,” then we shall buy. But that is quite a different thing to putting in voluntarily, running the risk of falling foul of the Ministry on the one hand and buying an expensive something we cannot use for some considerable time on the other hand. If the merits of the case are such that the Minister, under Section 19, says “Buy” we shall be only too pleased to.”

Councillor W. H. Fish: Is this present-day justice you are talking about? Would you like to be in Mr. Walker's position, any of us here?
The Town Clerk: Few of us would like to be in the position of anyone suffering loss as a result of war damage. There are hundreds of people in Dover who, in larger or smaller degree, are in a similar position. I especially would like to help them all, but if we were to help them all immediately by purchase we should certainly not be helping the generality of ratepayers, and, certain we should fall foul of the Minister. You dare not purchase unless you do so with the approval of the Minister, because he, during certain periods of the loan, indemnifies you to the extent of 100 per cent. of the loan. That is the measure of the need to cooperate with the Minister and Town and Country Planning, and if you don't follow the governing principle you get into very deep waters indeed. That is what I told the Council in private. I am bound to advise you against the amendment. You pass it knowing the possible consequences.

The Mayor said that if he followed his natural inclination he would support the amendment, but he was not in a position to follow that inclination. He was Chairman of the Finance Committee and the Mayor of the town, and it was his duty to do the best he could for the generality. One was often in the position where one could not be as generous as one would like. Here there was a solution provided by the law, and he hoped the solution would be such that it would soon ease Mr. Walker's difficulties.

Councillor G. R. Renwick said that if they considered justice or injustice they would get into water so deep that they would not know where they were. They had to consider it simply on business lines. If they said they would purchase that site from Mr. Walker then where was the justice for someone else who had property on the Sea Front, and asked, “Why don't you buy mine; I am next door?” because people like themselves were not in a position to decide the justice or even the wisdom of such a case, however unbiased they might try to be, the Minister had wisely laid down this precise method whereby Mr. Walker and others in his position could appeal. He, for one, hoped that Mr. Walker would be successful, but they must leave it at that, and let him make the appeal.

Councillor L. Gillam said it seemed to him they would be in danger of penalising the rest of the rate payers if they did buy the property because if they bought prior to actual need the Minister might say, “You have bought this property; you don't need it; I am afraid you will have to stand the thing yourself.” There would be an immediate charge on the rates. Councillor Gillam said that Mr. Walker had had an opportunity to get out of his difficulties, in part, at, least. “In the early stages the Corporation were quite willing to cooperate with him, and he was so ill-advised as to take the opposite road and now we are being asked to pull him out of it.”

The amendment to purchase the hotel was lost, only one voting in favour.

 

From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday 5 August, 1949.

DOVER IN THE FRONT LINE

THE STORY OF HELL FIRE CORNER

The seven air raid warnings on the day of Mr. Churchill's visit to Dover, August, 28th, 1940, covered almost the whole of the twenty-four hours, and there were two raids while the Prime Minister was actually in the town. He saw at least one German raider brought down, and inspected the wreckage on the Dover-Deal road.

In his tour of the town Mr. Churchill visited the Fire Station, A.R.P. Control Room, a First Aid Station, as well as the site of recent shelling. He also watched a demonstration of the parachute mines fired in batteries from the Prince of Wales Pier at attacking planes as they passed over the Harbour. One of these floated down on the roof of the “Dover Express” and exploded without doing any serious damage, but it led to a rumour that the building had been destroyed. About 75 windows in the area were broken.

Although they had failed in their attempts to clear the skies of British fighter planes and put the southern port and aerodromes out of action, the German's, during September, pressed on with their plans and began their aerial assault of London on September 7th, with the opening onslaught on dockland.

“PLUCKY FELLOWS”

That was the day after Mr. Churchill had announced to Parliament the exchange of sea bases for 50 American destroyers, the introduction of war damage insurance, and the issue of interest free loans to meet rate deficiencies in evacuated towns. On the latter subject, of particular interest to Dover, he said: “Ministry Officials will advise and confer with Mayors and principle officers - plucky fellows; it makes you proud to meet them.”

With the longer run to their new target and consequent greater opportunities for R.A.F. interceptors, the Luftwaffe found their losses to be even heavier than in the earlier phases of the Battle of Britain, and the turning point came on September 15th, when the 185 German machines claimed to have been destroyed, representing a loss of seven for every single British fighter brought down. The manpower loss, of course, was infinitely greater in proportion.

Thereafter, the enemy concentrated on night bombing, and although they caused heavy damage the failure of the daylight raids had saved the country, together with the counter measures taken by the R.A.F. Bomber Command and the Royal Navy against invasion barges, which it was known were being amassed in the Channel ports from Boulogne to Ostend.

It was another notable month in Dover. It brought a heavy casualty list, and one of the town's worst war incidents, when bombs and shells fell together on the 11th. In addition, there was the mounting tension brought about by the threat of invasion.

SPECTACULAR FIRES

Large formations of enemy aircraft were constantly in the sky, and at night our own aircraft took up the attack on the Channel ports, where the invasion craft were concentrated. Through access to the Sea Front was barred to all without a permit, many townspeople from the higher parts of the town saw the bombing and the A.A. fire on the French coast – a spectacular sight, with sometimes fires of considerable magnitude lighting up the sky.

There were few incidents in Dover during the first week, which brought eighteen alerts. But at the end of the week Goering began his all-out attack on London. Squadron after squadron of bombers escorted by mass fighters were seen flying N.W., but our air defence was still capable of upsetting the Nazis plans, and, with attacks broken up, Dover and South East England received many of the bombs intended for London, and the countryside was strewn with wrecked aircraft.

One of the earliest incidents of the month was the death, on the way to hospital, of a local Territorial Gunner Joseph Pittock, of the 23rd H.A.A. Battery, who was struck by shrapnel during a raid on September 4th. His home was in Capel.

On the 7th, bombs fell in the Harbour and between the “Plough Inn” and the Farthingloe Farm. The next day, Sunday, eighteen bombs were dropped at noon, from St. Radigunds to the sea. Whilst at work on his allotment at Aycliffe, an elderly man, Mr. C. J. Tover, of Limekiln Street, was killed by one of the bombs, and another bomb fractured a water main at Noah's Ark Road. Six more bombs at 7 p.m. in the sea near the Admiralty Pier did no damage, and several more were dropped in the Whitfield Hill area, the house of the Mayor (Alderman Cairns) being damaged.

There was violent shelling of the town the next day, Monday, beginning at about tea time. Not all the 160 shells fired made land, but many did, and four civilians and a soldier were killed and considerable damage was done to property. The civilians who lost their lives were Charles Goodbourne, of Chevalier Road, William MacDonald, of Clarence Lawn, Basil J. Wells, of Snargate Street, and Ernest E. Wilshire, of Monins Road.

The body of the soldier, Pte. J. H. Ellis, of the Royal West Kent Regt. Was not found until the following day, at the Citadel.

The “Burlington Hotel” suffered its first damage, part of the central tower being demolished, Charlton Mail was also hit, and houses in the Elms Vale area and Godwyne Road. The garage of Elms Vale suffered severely, and light cars inside were damaged. It was here that two of the men lost their lives.

Five people were injured in the attack, which lasted about 2 hours, and another woman was taken to hospital later in the day as a result of a bomb falling on Redvers Cottages, Kearsney.

BLACK WEDNESDAY

There was a lull the next day, but on Wednesday, September 11th, Dover had one of its blackest days of the war when it was bombed and shelled simultaneously. Heavy damage was done in the town, and 16 people were killed and 62 injured.

The bulk of the damage from bombs was in a path parallel with the sea shore, crossing the “Grand Hotel” and Townwall Street. More than 26 bombs fell, and ten shells in all were accounted for. The air attack, carried out by a large number of Dornfer 215's began soon after three o'clock, and was quickly over, but the shelling went on until late afternoon. With aircraft always in the vicinity, too, Dover remained under a constant threat, and it was not until 9 p.m. that one “All Clear” was heard.

Long before that happened the Civil Defence had been fully mobilised to deal with this, its first major test, and while shells were still falling, rescue parties and volunteers were busy searching the ruins for the dead and injured. One wing of the “Grand Hotel” had collapsed, the Sailors' Home was a heap of ruins, and the “Sussex Arms,” and surrounding property in Townwall Street wrecked completely. Many were the efforts made to rescue trapped people, and one of the bravest was Stoker G. Lowe, who twice tunnelled into the debris to rescue people, and was subsequently awarded the George Medal.

The final death roll was not known for several days, because of the huge piles of debris which had to be moved and searched.

In fact, it was eleven days before some of the bodies were recovered from the wreckage of the “Grand Hotel” and the Sailors' Home in Wellesley Road. At the latter premises, the steward, Mr. William F. Clark, and his son, Mr. E. J. Cook, both lost their lives. When demolition squads had cleared away the rubble, the steward's body was found in the boiler house.

THREE GENERATIONS KILLED

Three generations of one family perished in the ruins of the “Sussex Arms” in Townwall Street. They were Mrs. Annie P. Richardson, ages 69; her daughter-in-law, Mrs. Grace M. L Richardson, aged 42, and her granddaughter Joan Mary Richardson, aged 17. The licensee, Mr. F. Richardson, only survived at the Inn, was one of those rescued by Stoker Lowe, who tunnelled under 15ft of debris regardless of a heavy chimney breast likely to fall at any moment.

It was amid the ruins of houses in the adjoining Townwall passage that Stoker Lowe made his other gallant rescue bringing to safety Mrs. L. Terry. Earlier, in the same house, a 5-month-old baby had been rescued, its life having been saved by its mother, Mrs. Lena E. Amos, aged 20, who, though fatally injured by the falling debris, managed to protect her baby daughter Jean. Also killed I the same house was Doris I. Terry, aged 15.

When the raid began, Councillor John G. Walker, the well-known boat proprietor, who had been one of the most vociferous in opposing Government demands that some members of the Town Council should be ready to evacuate the town, was on the sea Front tending his beloved boats. He took shelter under one of them, but the protection was inadequate, and he was killed by a bomb which set fire to his boats, destroyed them, and burnt to death his dog.

In view of the enormous damage, it was surprising there were not more casualties. The “Grand Hotel” received a direct hit, and there were a number of people in the wing which promptly collapsed. Some people fell from the top floor to the ground, but only two were killed. Sub. Lieut. William J. Lunn, of H.M.T. “Oku,” and Robert S. G. Harvey, aged 19, of 101, Hillside Road, whose body was not recovered until September 22nd.

ANOTHER GALLANT SAILOR

Some of the crew of the barrage balloon on the Granville Gardens site took shelter during the raid in the basements of near-by houses, and one of them, L. Howard, R.A.F., was trapped in a damage house in Camden Crescent, and died of his injuries.

Another sailor was prominent in the rescue of people trapped in Camden Crescent, digging his way through the ruins regardless of personal danger.

Unfortunately not everyone appreciated the gallant efforts of these sailors for while they were entering their humanitarian work here Stoker Lowe and his companions in arms, had all their kit stolen, including their leave passes. To prevent looting at night from the many damaged properties the Home Guards provided patrols.

Others who lost their lives in the town in this raid were Cyril P. Catchpole, of the South Goodwins Lightship, Victor James Cook, of the Green Howards and Petty Officer Ivor G. G. Batchellor.

Most of the bombs were located in the following areas:- Cambridge Road, St. James's Street, Liverpool Street, castle Hill Road, Leybourne Road, Laurestone Place, Victoria Park, and Selbourne Terrace. Two in Laurestone Place was an oil bomb, the first in the borough, and set light to the upper portion of a house.

Another bomb fell in the Middle of Folkestone Road near the “Engineer Inn,” but failed to explode. At night when most men were engaged at the hole it made it blew up, and Frederick Hayward, of Tower Hill, an employee of the gas company was killed. It made a huge crater the width of the road, 12 feet deep, and temporarily isolated the Hougham part of the town.

Shells fired that day fell mainly in an area from the sea to the Priory Station; about twenty went in the sea and others were located at Hawksfield's wharf, the Gun Wharf, Snargate Street (near the Masonic Hall), the Shaft and Priory Station. The following day Guardsman F. Haller, Irish Guards, was found dead at the Citadel having apparently been killed by a shell splinter.

At the Priory Station a shell damaged the approaches to the footbridge. The staff, fortunately, had taken cover, and there were no casualties.

 

From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 29 June, 1951.

1000 OFFERED FOR GRAND HOTEL DEMOLITION

Mystery of an Unclaimed Road

An offer to pay the Corporation a sum of 1000 for the right to demolish the Grand Hotel, the contractor retaining the salvage, was accepted by the Town Council at its monthly meeting on Tuesday.

The Council was told, sixteen tenders were received. All figures were not revealed, but a remark by Councillor A. B. Constable suggested that one tenderer asked for a payment, to him, of 4000 for the job.

Councillor Constable spoke of a difference of 5000 in the tenders and asked if all tenders were submitted on the same conditions.

After the Borough Engineer (Mr. D. R. Bevan) had given an assurance that this was so, Alderman F. C. Overton inquired about the future of the area, in view of a recent Government statement about reduced allowances for re-building blitzed areas.

Both Alderman R. L. Eckhoff and Alderman A. J. Fenn pointed out that the Grand Hotel was now a dangerous structure so that whatever the future of the area might be the building must come down.

It would be ridiculous to think of allowing it to stand for another five or six years, Alderman Eckhoff said.

Alderman Overton agreed that the hotel was now dangerous, but said it would be interesting, in the light of present circumstances, to have some information on the whole area.

Alderman Fenn replied that they were only dealing with the question of demolition of the hotel.

The Borough Engineer stated that the three most favourable tenders received payment to the Corporation of 1000, 505 and 500 respectively.

After Mr. Bevan's recommendation that the offer of 1000 be accepted had been approved he announced that the successful tenders were Messrs. Frank Luck, Ltd. 

 

From the Dover Express, 24 August 1951.

Grand Hotel to be Demolished

Now that the Ministry have given their decision on the Sea Front houses, the Grand Hotel is to be demolished.

The Planning Committee decided on Tuesday to recommend the Council to take this step after the Town Clerk had reported that the acquisition of the hotel had been completed and the converted value payment received from the War Damage Commission.

It was agree to recommend the Council to invite tenders for the demolition.

 

From the Dover Express, 24 August 1951.

Grand Hotel 1950 demolition

ANOTHER LANDMARK GOING

The demolition of the Grand Hotel, which has stood untouched since it was badly damaged in the bombing raid in September, 1940, has now been in progress some weeks. Originally three houses, built in 1864, it was transformed into a hotel in 1893 and for nearly fifty years served the needs of the town for an establishment of this kind.

 

From the Dover Express, 24 August 1951.

Grand Hotel demolition 1951

THE END OF THE GRAND HOTEL

The removal of yet another Dover landmark as the demolition contractors complete the destruction of the Grand Hotel opens up the view of further war devastation beyond.

 

 

Frank Luck gave the town 1,000 for the privilege of clearing the site from June to October 1951.

 

From the Dover Express, Thursday 2 September 2010

ONE YEAR INTO THE WAR, AND TOWN SEES HEAVIEST RAID YET.

By Terry Sutton from Way We Were.

SEPTEMBER 1940, exactly one year after the outbreak of war, and Dover received its heaviest attack, with bombs and shells falling simultaneously on the town for the first time. Meanwhile the Battle of Britain was being fought overhead.

The attack happened on Wednesday, September 11, when heavy damage was caused in the town, 16 people were killed and another 62 injured, some seriously.

Why did the enemy mount such a heavy onslaught on Dover that day?

The answer was what was going on around the enemy-captured ports of Calais, Boulogne and Dunkirk, where Hitter was making preparations for a sea-borne invasion of England. A large German convoy was seen off the French coast and the enemy was trying to divert attention from it.

The German leader had ordered his generals and naval officers to carry out invasion rehearsals and, despite choppy seas, they tried to board heavily armed troops onto barges that were mostly designed for canal work and not for the sea.

It was chaos. After the war, those who took part told of craft overturning in the surf, boats crashing into each other and many heavily laden troops falling into the sea, some drowning.

Hitler was not impressed and, unknown at the time to the Allies, decided to call off any invasion, at least in 1940.

The RAF was gradually winning the fight against the Luftwaffe by early September, although losses were heavy on both sides. The enemy began switching tactics to night bombing while the RAF continued attacking concentrations of enemy invasion barges across the Channel.

It was pretty quiet in Dover itself during the first week of September, although there were 18 alerts as German bombers crossed the coast to attack London.

One early death in September was that of Gunner Joseph Pittock, whose home was at Capel. He was on his way to hospital when he was struck by shrapnel during a raid on September 4.

Bombs fell in the Maxton area on September 7, and the next day Cyril Tozer, 62, of Limekiln Street. was killed while working on his allotment at Aycliffe.

On September 8 there was heavy shelling with about 160 missiles fired, many falling into the harbour. But four civilians and a soldier were killed. Five others were Injured.

The Burlington Hotel, with people living there in flats, suffered its first damage when part of the central tower was demolished. Charlton Mill was also hit, as was a garage in Elms Vale.

Then came the heavy attack on September 11, apparently to keep the Allies busy while the Germans carried out their invasion rehearsal. The bulk of the damage to Dover was in the Townwall Street/St James' Street area, where 26 bombs dropped by Dorniers and ten shells fell.

Wrecked were The Grand Hotel, the Sailors Home on Wellesley Road, where the end of The Gateway now stands and the "Sussex Arms" In Townwall Street. Three generations of one family died in the bombing of the pub.

It was here that Royal Navy stoker George Lowe tunnelled his way through 15 feet of debris to rescue the injured. While doing so he took off his jacket and someone stole his kit. He received the George Medal for his bravery.

In his autobiography, published after the war, the late Jack Hewitt claimed it was he who carried out much of the rescue and should have received a medal!

One of those killed in the raid was Cllr John Walker, 54, who had earlier received publicity for rejecting government calls for the evacuation of Dover. He was killed tending his boats on the seafront.

During the raid the first oil bomb was dropped on the town. It fell in Laurestone Place, setting fire to a house. Another bomb landed in Folkestone Road near The "Engineer," but failed to explode. When the authorities tried to remove the bomb it blew up, killing gas company employee Frederlck Hayward, 63. The crater covered the width of the road and temporarily isolated Hougham.

After this big raid Dover enjoyed a one-day respite before four days of bombing attacks. One bomb hit a trawler alongside the Prince of Wales Pier, killing six crew members.

On September 16 Dover was hit by both bombs and shells, but not at the same time. One shell hit the sea bathing baths on the seafront.

Sirens wailed virtually every night as German bombers flew over Dover heading for London, and many Dovorians took to sleeping in the deep shelters under the cliffs. Others abandoned the town. The Pilot Office on the seafront was closed and the pilots and staff switched to Gravesend.

Six gunners were killed by a mine explosion at Broadlees on September 22, and the same day a British bomber crashed at East Langdon. More bombs were dropped on September 24, but most fell harmlessly in the countryside.

On September 26 four shells fell in the Market Square area, killing two and injuring 18 others. Killed were Church Street newsagent Edith Cameron, 62, and James Holman, 20, of Manor Road, who had been married for only two months.

The next day a lone enemy plane dived on the town, dropping four bombs, and later in the day came a long spell of shelling. An army officer was injured and died in hospital.

The very dangerous month ended with more shelling, with salvoes of three sent over every half hour.

One shell, landing in Market Street, killed builders' foreman William DutnalI, 66, of Church Alkham. Later in the day William Grey, 75, of Erith Street was found dead in his garden, killed by the blast of one of the shells.

During the month 34 people had been killed and at least 130 injured.

 

 

LICENSEE LIST

FINNIS Frederick 1891 and 1905 (secretary)

IMPERIALI Madame 1895

SCHWEITZER H 1901

WATERS Miss Apr/1905+ Dover Express

RAINHAM or REINMANN C 1907

BARKER A 1910

BERGAN O F 1912

FINNIS to Mar/1912 Dover Express

OVER Mr (Secretary) Mar/1912+ Dover Express

COTSFORD F 1915

BAVIN N 1917-23 Pikes 1923 (manager)

FAWCETT W (manager)1924 Pikes 1924

WALKER John 1924-40 end Pikes 1932-33Pikes 1938-39

HOVER James William to Aug/1940 Dover Express

WALKER John  Aug/1940 (Company director)Dover Express

DYMANT Mrs Kathleen Joan 1940 (secretary)

 

Matt cartoon 1937

Above shows John "Philip" Walker (right), from part of a cartoon by MATT that appeared in the Sunday Graphic 20 June 1937. Courtesy of Dover Library.

 

Pikes 1923From Pikes Dover Blue Book 1923

Pikes 1924From Pikes Dover Blue Book 1924

Pikes 1932-33From Pikes Dover Blue Book 1932-33

Pikes 1938-39From Pikes Dover Blue Book 1938-39

Dover ExpressFrom the Dover Express

 

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