Station Name: DOVER PRINCE OF WALES PIER

[Source:Nick Catford]

Dover Prince of Wales Pier Gallery 2: 1905 - 1915

Two harbour board tugs guide an unidentified transatlantic liner into the berth at the Prince of Wales Pier in 1905. The pier was provided with a narrow island platform made of timber. One side of the platform served the landing stage, as seen here; the other, out of view to the right, served the SE&CR line that ran onto the pier. A canopy provided protection from the weather.
Copyright photo from John Alsop collection

Large crowds have gathered on The Prince of Wales Pier to see the maiden transatlantic voyage of the The SS ‘Amerika’ in October 1905. The other side of the platform, shown in the picture above, is seen in this view. SS ‘Amerika’ was a steel-hulled, twin-screw, steam passenger liner. She was launched on 20 April 1905 at Belfast, by the noted shipbuilding firm of Harland & Wolff, Ltd. The liner entered transatlantic service when she departed Hamburg on 11 October, bound for the United States via Dover. The Hamburg Amerika Line moved its operations to Southampton in 1906 because of difficulties in entering the harbour at Dover. On 14 April 1912 Amerika transmitted a wireless message about icebergs near the same area where RMS ‘Titanic’ struck one and sank less than three hours later. At the outset of WW1 ‘Amerika’ was docked at Boston; rather than risk seizure by the Royal Navy, she remained in port for the next three years. Hours before the entry of the United States into the war, ‘Amerika’ was seized and placed under control of the United States Shipping Board and later transferred to the U.S. Navy for use as a troop transport.
Photo from John Mann collection

The SS ‘Amerika’ is moored at the Prince of Wales Pier on 12 October 1905 during her maiden transatlantic crossing.
Copyright photo from John Alsop collection

Another view of the SS ‘Amerika’ alongside the Prince of Wales Pier. This postcard is dated
2 September 1906.


View from the Prince of Wales Pier towards the Granville clock tower and the ‘Esplanade’ Hotel, in the centre. The ironwork between the two buildings was erected to support the two walls. The central section of the building needed to be removed to allow trains to pass through onto the pier. Following war damage the hotel and adjacent houses were demolished in the late 1940s. This allowed the Wellington Crescent curve to be laid to the seafront railway line, thereby connecting the track on the Wellington Dock swing bridge directly to the line along the promenade to the Camber. This eliminated the back-shunt onto the Prince of Wales Pier which had previously been necessary.

The Prince of Wales Pier station seen from the lighthouse c1906. The 16,500-ton liner 'Deutschland' has just arrived at Dover. This four-stacker won the coveted Blue Ribband for the fastest Atlantic crossing in her maiden year reaching a speed of 23 knots. Two Harbour Board tugs are seen on the left.

Looking landward along the Prince of Wales Pier in 1906. The SS ‘Pennsylvania' lies on the east side of the pier and the Harbour Board tug ‘Lady Vita’ on the west side. The single platform station is seen on the pier between them; the timber building at the end of the platform is probably the waiting room. SS ‘Pennsylvania’ was a cargo liner built by Harland & Wolff, Belfast and launched in 1896 for the German Hamburg-Amerika Line for the transatlantic trade, particularly German emigration to the United States. She took refuge in the United States on the outbreak of WW1 and on the U.S. joining hostilities was seized and renamed the SS ‘Nansemond’. She was briefly commissioned as USS ‘Nansemond’ in 1919 and was scrapped in 1924.
Photo from Jim Lake collection

Looking out over Dover Harbour from the Western Heights c1906. Wellington Dock is seen in the foreground. On the west side of the dock a narrow channel leads to the tidal basin beyond. A swing bridge over the channel carries the railway line onto the Prince of Wales Pier which is seen in the left. Note the gap in the buildings on the south side of the bridge; this is where the centre section of the ‘Esplanade’ Hotel had to be demolished to allow the railway to reach the pier. The other pier is Admiralty Pier. The ‘Lord Warden’ Hotel is seen at the east end of Admiralty Pier and next to it is Dover Town station. The high level bridge linking the first floor of the hotel and the station is clearly seen. The Southern Breakwater has yet to be built.

The Prince of Wales Pier seen from the Esplanade Hotel c1908. On the left construction of the Southern Breakwater is underway. The 4212ft long breakwater was built between 1907 and 1909. Combined with the Admiralty Pier and the Eastern Breakwater, the effect of the Southern Breakwater was the creation of two harbour entrances of 670ft to the east and 740ft to the west. The breakwater was built using large granite blocks and it extends nearly ¾-mile. At each end there was accommodation for the hundreds of troops who manned the guns that were mounted on the breakwater. There were also searchlight emplacements.

The southern end of the Prince of Wales Pier c1910. The platform is clearly seen with a canopy that also projected over the landing stage on the east side. There are two buildings, one at the end of the platform and another closer to the lighthouse. These included a waiting room toilets and a telegraph office. There were also refreshments provided by the licensee of the ‘Lord Warden’ Hotel.
Photo from John Mann collection

An unidentified South Eastern & Chatham Railway turbine steamer is seen passing the Prince of Wales Pier on its way to the Admiralty Pier c1910.
Photo from Jim Lake collection

With the outbreak of war in 1914 the Prince of Wales Pier came under military control. A 6in Quick Fire (QF) Naval is seen on the pier in 1915. The gun is on an angled mounting to give it elevation so it could be used against Zeppelins. During WW1 the German military made extensive use of Zeppelins as bombers and scouts, killing over 500 people in bombing raids in Britain. The two pier buildings are seen; the distant one is at the end of the railway platform.

Click here for Dover Prince of Wales Pier Gallery 3:
c1930s - March 2015


 

 

 

[Source:Nick Catford]


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