A Seafront Promenade


At a little over half a mile in length, or a little under 1 kilometer 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
the Country.
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.

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

the Country.

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

"Hellfire Corner".

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.

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