A Seafront Promenade
At a little over half a mile in length, or a little under 1 kilometre in length, the walk along
The Esplanade into Marine Parade, Dover is hardly the most taxing nor strenuous of
workouts but it would be wrong to dismiss it too readily as, along the way, it celebrates
the lives and achievements of many people as well as events that shaped and influenced
From the late 10 th Century to the earliest days of the 21 st Century, there are tributes to a
British Monarch, an Archbishop of Canterbury, a world renowned Author, an unrivalled
Sportsman and many others whose achievements are no less by comparison.
Some are celebrated, some commemorated, some ‘simply’ remembered. None are
Their history covers a full Millennium, the walk takes as long as you want it to.
Starting Reference at the Western End of the seafront, past the Sea Sports Centre
51°07'08.8"N 1°18'46. 6"E
The Grade 2 listed Clock tower, built in 1876-7 by George Devey contains a stone spiral
staircase. The work was commissioned by the Dover Harbour Board, and following the
completion of the Clock Tower, Devey was further commissioned to design a marine
bathing establishment. The building work was undertaken by a local builder, W.J. Adcock.
The Clock Tower is all that remains of Devey's work, the rest having been destroyed by
enemy shelling during World War II. Devey was notable for his work on country houses
and their estates, especially those belonging to the Rothschild family once considered to
be owners of the largest private fortune in the world.
Close by the Clock Tower stood a covered monument commemorating the return to
England of King Charles II the eldest surviving child of Charles l of England who had
been deposed and executes by Oliver Cromwell during the English Civil War.
The monument was unveiled May 25th 1960 to commemorate the tercentenary of
Charles landing at Dover on his way to London to secure the throne and restore the
Monarchy following his exile in Mainland Europe. Charles was welcomed on Dover beach
and a salute was fired from the guns of the Castle. The well known diarist Samuel Pepys
was one of those accompanying the King who was greeted by Thomas Broome, Mayor of
Dover, and a copy of the Holy Bible was presented to Charles as a gift from the town.
Charles was received into London, as Monarch, 4 days after landing at Dover, on his 30th
birthday, May 29th 1660.
Opened to the public in May 2019 the 500 metre long The Marina Pier is part of the
Dover Western Docks Revival redevelopment. The pier is open from 7am until 9pm
during the summertime and 7am to 7pm during winter months.
Continuing eastwards along the seafront and clearly visible although situated on the
quayside of Wellington Dock is a hand-cranked crane built by the Fairbairn Engineering
Company of Manchester in 1868 and now scheduled as an ancient monument. Worked by
four men the crane was rated at 50 tons and used by the Royal Navy for handling
cannon. Another hand-cranked Fairburn crane survives in Seville Spain while a steam
driven version, also a listed monument, can be found in Bristol Docks.
Erected by the Dunkirk Veterans Association, East Kent, on August 16th 1975, the Battle
of Dunkirk Memorial carries a bronze relief plaque showing a soldier carrying a wounded
comrade ashore, while an attack goes on around them. The memorial not only pays
tribute to the bravery and discipline of the servicemen who took part in the Dunkirk
Evacuation, code-named Operation Dynamo, the evacuation of Allied soldiers from the
beaches and harbour of Dunkirk between 26 May and 4 June 1940, but also to the
courage of the crews of the armada of little ships which assisted their evacuation, and
the people of the port of Dover who received them.
Unveiled on September 26th 1994 to mark the 50th anniversary of the last shell to fall
on Dover fired by German guns located on the French coast during World War II the
Frontline Britain memorial marks the contribution of all those who had carried on their
duties, both civilian and military, in what had become known during that conflict as
Born in Des Moines, Iowa, William McGuire "Bill" Bryson is a best-selling Anglo-American
author. Dropping out of Drake University in 1972, Bryson decided to backpack around
Europe and first arrived in England onboard a midnight Calais to Dover ferry on “a foggy
March night in 1973”.
Unable to find suitable accommodation in the middle of the night, he took himself to
Marine Parade and found a shelter, although exactly which one is not recorded, where,
with a backpack for a pillow, he slept for a few hours before being woken by the sound
of a foghorn then going on to breakfast at a local ‘transport caff’ before, finally, finding
short term lodgings.
The Lindemann Battery Memorial is made, partly, from armour plating taken from the
German Gun Battery located on the French coast that fired shells at Dover during World
War II. Named after Ernst Lindemann, Captain of the battleship Bismarck, which had
been sunk by the British navy in 1941, the battery was situated at Sangatte, some 5 miles
west of Calais. On 4th September 1944, a shell from an English railway gun hit one of the
Lindemann guns while another was destroyed on 21st September 1944 when the area
was bombed by some 4-500 Allied bombers. The last of the three guns was put out of
action when Canadian soldiers seized the battery on 26th September 1944. The site was
later used as a spoil tip for the millions of tons of soil excavated by the French
Eurotunnel works and is today covered by a man-made lake.
The Channel Swimmers Monument honours all those swimmers who have attempted to
swim the English Channel which is considered by many to be the most prestigious of
open water swims and one of the hardest in the world. Though the straight-line distance
between the English and French coasts is 36.2 kilometres (22.5 miles), strong tides
increase the distance swum, sometimes up to 90 kilometres (56 miles).
Officially unveiled July 2013 the Dover portrait bench was initiated by charity Sustrans, a
national charity “making it easier for people to walk and cycle”. Funded by National
Lottery the bench sits at one end of the River Dour Greenway, a walking and cycle route
intended to improve links across Dover town by providing an important ‘backbone’ to
the Town and roughly following the route of the River Dour.
Jamie Clark was selected from over 120,000 applicants as Dover's first torch
bearer forming part of the 2012 Olympic Torch Relay which came to Dover on 18 July
2012 in the lead up to the London Olympics that year.
Dame Vera Margaret Lynn (nee Welch) DBE has become synonymous with Dover
thanks to the wartime classic song 'The White Cliffs of Dover'
Representing author Ian Fleming the figure of James Bond was chosen by public
vote. Fleming himself lived some 5 miles from Dover at St Margarets Bay, in a house he
purchased in 1951 from playwright and actor Noel Coward; Fleming used the local area
as the setting for the 1955 book Moonraker.
The Start/Finish Line set into the pavement close by the Portrait Bench marks the
end/beginning of the150 mile (250 km) long North Downs Way National Trail which runs
between Dover and Farnham in Surrey. The part of the route between Dover and
Canterbury uses the route of the "Via Francigena" and retraces the steps of Archbishop
Sigeric who, in 990AD, journeyed to Rome in order to fetch his pallium. an ecclesiastical
vestment in the Roman Catholic Church.
Formed in 1872 The Royal Cinque Ports Yacht Club boasted The Duke of Connaught as
their first Commodore, The Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII often raced from the
club, whilst his mother, Queen Victoria, gave trophies to be contested at the annual
Standing at the Junction of Waterloo Crescent, Camden Crescent and New Bridge
Street, and one of only 5 examples of free-standing Indian Mutiny group monuments in
England, the 60th Rifles Memorial is a granite monument with bronze decorations
erected by the First Battalion of he 60th Royal Rifles to commemorate their comrades
who fell during the Indian Campaigns of 1857 (Oudh), 1858 (Delhi) and 1859
A Blue Plaque in Camden Crescent celebrates Cuthbert Ottaway who was born in Dover
in 1851. Ottaway represented Oxford University at five different sports, notably Cricket
and Association Football, captaining both teams and winning the FA Cup for them in
1874. Ottaway played cricket for both Middlesex and Kent as well as many of the
‘Gentlemen’ sides before England formed a recognised National Team.
Cuthbert Ottaway also has the distinction of having captained the England football team
in the world’s very first official football international when they played Scotland on
November 30th 1872.
A second blue plaque celebrates a regular visitor to Dover, Charles Dickens, who took
temporary lodgings at premises in Camden Crescent whilst writing parts of Bleak House.
Dickens also gave readings in the town, notably at The Apollonian Hall in Snargate Street
and would often stay at the Lord Warden Hotel. Wilkie Collins, author of The Woman in
White, stayed at the Camden Crescent premises with Dickens during the Summer of
1852. Dickens gave readings in the town
A dominant feature on Snargate Street since 1790 was the Hippodrome Theatre which
underwent a number of name changes until it was destroyed on Sept 18th 1944 by,
almost, the last shell fired by the enemy's long range guns, having remained open,
almost without interruption, throughout WW2, The theatre’s last manager, Herbert
Armstrong, is remembered by a memorial bench in Granville Gardens.
“Mr. Armstrong will be especially remembered by many who remained in Dover
throughout the war years for his untiring efforts to provide variety shows at the ‘Royal
Hippodrome’ which he managed with great success. It was not until the last week of
enemy shelling, when the Hippodrome received a direct hit from a shell, that the
building was finally closed”. Dover Express May 30th 1947.
Located within a circular flower bed on the corner of Wellesley Road and Marine Parade
is a plaque to commemorate VJ Day. The marker was installed on September 9th 2015,
the day on which Queen Elizabeth ll became the longest reigning British Monarch of all
time, surpassing her Great Great Grandmother Queen Victoria.
The statue of a First World War soldier was sited in 2019 as part of the Royal British
Legion's ‘Thank You 100’ campaign. The piece, called Every One Remembered, and is
encased within a Perspex obelisk, is by sculptor Mark Humphreys.
A now empty plinth was once the location of The Waiting Miner, a statue sculpted by H
Phillips and commissioned by the CEGB; originally destined for Ferry Bridge power
station in Yorkshire in 1966 it was located outside Richborough power station 14 miles
(22kms) North of Dover.
In 1997, when the power station was decommissioned the statue was re-located to
Dover seafront, beside the former Kent National Coal Board and the Kent branch of the
National Union of Miners Offices. In 2010 the statue was relocated to the site of the
former Betteshanger Colliery and re-dedicated in July 2011.
The Dover Mosaic depicts the south east corner of England and the near continent
displaying the destination ports to which ferries from Dover have sailed over the years,
Ostend, Dunkirk, Calais and Boulogne. The compass rose is about a metre in diameter
and shows the main cardinal points (N, E, S & W) The arms of Dover show the three ship
insignia of the Cinque Ports, a medieval ship and St.Martin, the town's patron saint,
giving half his cloak to a beggar. Martin is also the Patron Saint of France.
The statue to Charles Rolls was designed by Kathleen Young, later Baroness Kennett,
wife of Antarctic explorer Captain Robert Scott.
Rolls was an English motoring and aviation pioneer who co-founded the Rolls-Royce car
firm. He was only the second Englishman to fly in an aeroplane and the first to make a
non-stop double crossing of the English Channel by plane, a journey of some 95 minutes,
on 2 June 1910, for which feat, which also included the first eastbound aerial crossing of
the Channel, he was awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Aero Club.
Unveiled by Winston Churchill, Grandson of the war-time Prime Minister of the same
name, in September 2008 The Merchant Navy War Memorial depicts a Second World War
Merchant Navy sailor. More than 30,000 Merchant Seamen died during the Second World
War alone, and more than 5,000 were held in prisoner of war camps. One in three of the
merchant seamen who worked during the war never came home and a total of 4,500
ships were lost. During his unveiling speech Mr Churchill said: "But for their courage and
sacrifice these islands would have been starved into submission and the history of the
world would be totally different."
The Royal Norwegian Garden of Remembrance commemorates and recognises the
contributions of Norwegian sailors stationed in Dover during WW2.
Some 1,000 ships from the Norwegian Merchant Navy joined with the Allied Forces
during the conflict almost half of which were lost. The plaque located within the Garden
was dedicated May 23rd 1998 and replaces a metal plaque previously included within the
same garden. The Royal Norwegian Navy participated in the D-Day Landings along with
43 Norwegian merchant marine vessels, carrying ammunition, fuel, supplies and troops,
while Norwegian fighter pilots, trained in Canada and the UK, supported the invasion by
On 12 February 1942, 18 young men of the Fleet Air Arm flew 6 fabric-covered Fairey
Swordfish Torpedo Bombers from RAF Manston to attack the largest German Battle
Fleet ever assembled comprising three Battleships protected by 40 Flak Ships and more
than 200 fighter aircraft.
The Admiralty had predicted that the German Battleships would come through the
Straits of Dover at night and a sophisticated plan was devised but just 2 days before the
attack, the Admiralty decided that the threat level had lowered and the plans were down
Leaving harbour at night the German convoy reached the Dover Straits, at about
11.00am 12 th February. All the planes of 825 Squadron were shot down during the attack
and only five of the eighteen men who set out survived.
Dover was declared a Sri Chinmoy Peace Town and the English Channel a Peace Channel
on Sunday May 14th 1995 as commemorated by a plaque within the sunken garden.
Sri Chinmoy was a spiritual leader as well as an author, artist, poet, and musician, his
sporting achievements included distance running, swimming, and weightlifting. Olympic
gold-medal runner Carl Lewis learned meditation from Chinmoy as a means of
overcoming the mind's perceived limitations. The Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team members
have completed many successful Channel swims. Sri Chinmoy died in October 2007 aged
A memorial to Captain Webb, the first person to successfully swim the English Channel,
was unveiled on Clarence Lawn in front of the Burlington Hotel on 8 June 1910.
A renowned swimmer and sailor, Webb's first attempt at the crossing, on August 12th
1875, was foiled by high winds and bad conditions.
Unfazed, he tried again less than two weeks later. Supported by three small boats, Webb
swam against the tide taking 21 hours and 45 minutes to complete the swim, covering a
total distance of some 39 miles [62km] before reaching the beach at Calais, where a
monument to Webb still stands.
Sculpted by F.W. Doyle-Jones the Dover memorial stood for many years at the eastern
end of Marine Parade but now sits close to its original location on the lawn in front of
the present Gateway Flats.
The Herald of Free Enterprise was a ‘roll-on roll-off’ ferry operating between Dover and
Zeebrugge. On the afternoon of March 6th 1987 the ship, manned by a crew of 80. was
at about 40% capacity, carrying 459 passengers, 81 cars, 47 freight vehicles and three
buses. Having reached a speed of 18.9 knots (35.0 km/h, 21.7 mph) on passing the outer
breakwater at 18:24 (GMT) water began to enter the car deck in large quantities causing
the ferry to capsize some four minutes later. Within 90 seconds the ship had come to
rest on its port side on a sandbank, with no time to send an SOS signal, nor to lower the
lifeboats or deploy life jackets. The disaster resulted in the deaths of 193 people.
Just before midnight on 18 June 2000 a Customs Officer discovered the bodies of 58
young Chinese who had died in the back of an airtight 18m long, Dutch-registered, lorry,
there were also two survivors. It is believed that the victims had each paid £20,000 to
the smugglers flying from Beijing to Belgrade, given stolen passports, mainly Korean,
and hidden in vans as they passed through Austria into France, before travelling by rail to
Rotterdam, before being loaded behind a wooden partition in the lorry. The two
survivors were pulled out barely conscious by dock workers after six hours without fresh
air. There have been many more further deaths during attempts to cross the Channel
seeking asylum in the UK, and a second plaque, dedicated by The Bishop of Dover,
remembers these fatalities.
Dover Trail 1
This summary, a long time in the realisation, compiled by Dover Tales and first published
at Facebook throughout January 2021. (c)
With thanks to Anthony, Nic and Ray.