Station Name: DOVER TOWN

[Source: Nick Catford & Lorraine Sencicle]

Dover Town Station Gallery 2: Early 20th C - Late 1950s


Dover Town station seen from the beach in the early years of the 20th century. The station building is on the right with the long trainshed stretching out to the rear. In the foreground and arch can just be made out in the shadow on the east face of the pilot's tower. This is where the line to the Admiralty pier ran through the ground floor of the building. The Western Heights defences are seen on the hilltop above. The large building in the centre is the Grand Shaft Barracks.

This four-road engine shed was opened by the South Eastern Railway. Because of the cramped position between Archcliffe Fort, seen on the left, and the Hawkesbury Street Curve (to the right of the shed), the depot's turntable had to be sited at the west end of Archcliffe Tunnel. The main line is in front of the shed. Folkestone is to the left. To the right the lines diverge with one line curving to the north-east and on to Dover Priory while the other line continues straight ahead into the Terminus at Dover Town. This view is c1905.
Photo from Roger Griffiths collection

A rare glimpse of the first single-road shed opened by the South Eastern Railway on 7 February 1844. The shed was brick-built with a pitched slate roof. Dover Town station is beyond the shed and through Archcliffe Tunnel. Note that the main line across the long shingle Shakespeare Beach is elevated on wooden trestles
Photo from Roger Griffiths collection

Dover Town station in April 1920. The trainshed extended for 250ft to a point half way along the goods shed, which is seen on the left. The left end of the building protruded beyond the end of the trainshed. The ‘Lord Warden’ Hotel is seen on the right. The bridge linking the hotel with the station was still in place at this date. In front of the hotel the pedestrian entrance to Dover Marine station is seen with the raised walkway taking passengers over the line to Admiralty Pier. This is still used for access to the pier. The Hawkesbury Street curve is seen running behind the houses on Beach Street and under the viaduct, which at this time was under construction. The viaduct was first planned in 1899 to provide better access to the Western Docks. Construction should have started in 1914 but on 4 August WW1 broke out and all further work was stopped. Following the war, the viaduct scheme was given priority, and in the Pier District 400 houses and 30 pubs were demolished. The 1,000ft-long viaduct was finally opened on 9 January 1922. Bulwark Street sidings are seen on the left; these were built partially on the site of the SER's four-road engine shed which closed in 1914.
Reproduced with the kind permission of Simmons Aerofilms Ltd

Looking west along the passenger platform at Dover Town station c1921, seven years after the station closed to passengers during WW1. During the war the Town station was used as an ambulance station for dealing with the seriously injured personnel returning from the frontline. It became known as the 'Military Platform' and remained in military use until after WW2. The iron trainshed was removed long before closure to passengers.
Photo from John Mann collection

Looking east along the timber platform c1921. This platform was originally a much shorter goods dock under the east end of the trainshed; it was later extended to the west. It is not clear if this platform ever had any passenger use. The line to Admiralty Pier is seen on the right. The building seen above the vans on the right is the pedestrian entrance to Dover Marine station, with the raised walkway seen on the far right taking pedestrians above the Admiralty Pier. Note the dark sloping line on the building on the left; this indicates the position of the trainshed.

Looking east from Dover Town station c1921. The unusually shaped building on the left is the station goods shed; the sloping roof on the right was part of the trainshed. The 50yd Archcliffe Tunnel is seen in the distance. Archcliffe Fort stood on a headland overlooking the harbour known as Archcliffe Point. As the fort was still in use when the railway was built the only option was to tunnel under the headland. In the early 1920s the railway’s demand for more tracks resulted in parliamentary permission being given for the removal of the southern half of the fort, and the tunnel was opened out in 1928. The SER's four-road engine shed and the Hawkesbury Street curve are out of view to the right between the end of the platform and the tunnel.
Copyright photo from John Mann collecting

Dover Town station in August 1927. Contractors are in the process of demolishing Archcliffe Fort and removing the south side of the headland at Archcliffe Point to allow the tunnel to be opened out to accommodate more tracks. This was completed in 1928. Many of the station buildings along the south side of Beach Street have now been demolished leaving just the main part of the building opposite the ‘Lord Warden’ Hotel. The platform has been partially rebuilt on a curve alongside the line into Dover Marine station. The goods shed is still standing at this time. The viaduct has been completed and a vehicle is seen on it. Bulwark Street sidings are seen to the rear. Archcliffe Junction signal box is seen close to the tunnel portal; in June 1928 this would be replaced with a new box at the
west end of the platform.
Reproduced with the kind permission of Simmons Aerofilms Ld

The Dover Corporation fire brigade are demonstrating their new ladder in May 1937. The ‘Lord Warden’ Hotel is about 70ft high. The fireman ascends 25ft, and the ladder is then automatically extended to the required height. Shortly after refurbishment in the early 1930s the ex-Queen of Spain stayed at the hotel in January 1933. In the mid 1930s one of the first two roundabouts to be introduced in Dover was built outside the Hotel. Following the outbreak of WW2 the hotel was requisitioned for military use. Initially it was used as a rest centre for troops on leave from France as well as by politicians and journalists. Towards the end of the Battle of Britain, on 2 September 1940, the Royal Navy requisitioned the building as the headquarters of the Coastal Force Base, HMS Wasp. The hotel housed the administration, plotting rooms and signals section.. The surviving east end of the Dover Town station building is seen to the right. The wording in the building indicates that the building houses offices for the Southern Railway Marine Department. In 1937 the East Kent bus company took delivery of a batch of Leyland Titan TD4 buses, with 'lowbridge' (i.e. low height) 53-seat bodies built by Park Royal. The bus seen in front of the Town station is one of these, so it would have been brand new when photographed.

Dover Town station building seen from Beach Street in 1951. The rest of the buildings stretching along Beach Street, including the booking office, had been demolished by this date (probably around 1928). This building survived until December 1963. The bus in this picture appears to be a Guy Arab which also had a 'lowbridge' body.
Photo by HP White


Lord Warden Square seen from the Western Heights circa late 1950s. The ‘Lord Warden’ Hotel is in the centre with the surviving part of the Town station building to the right. Dover Western Docks station is seen to the left with the Admiralty Pier to the right

Click here for Dover Town Gallery 3:
September 1973 - September 2014


Last updated: Wednesday, 17-May-2017 09:02:49 BST
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