2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Geography of Great Britain

Dover, Kent
Population: 39,078 (2001)
Ordnance Survey
OS grid reference: TR315415
District: Dover
Shire county: Kent
Region: South East England
Constituent country: England
Sovereign state: United Kingdom
Ceremonial county: Kent
Historic county: Kent
Police force: Kent Police
Fire and rescue: {{{Fire}}}
Ambulance: South East Coast
Post office and telephone
Post town: DOVER
Postal district: CT
Dialling code: 01304
UK Parliament: Dover
European Parliament: South East England

Dover is a major channel port in the English county of Kent. At the 2001 census, the town of Dover proper had a population of 28,156 inhabitants, while the population of the whole urban area of Dover, as calculated by the Office for National Statistics, was 39,078 inhabitants. (External reference: ). The town is the administrative centre of the Dover district.

Dover is famous for its white cliffs, which are made of chalk. The cliffs gave Britain its nickname of Albion, meaning "white". The town's name derives from the Brythonic Dubrās ("the waters").

Its closeness to continental Europe – it is only 34 kilometres (21 miles) from the French port of Calais – makes Dover one of the United Kingdom's busiest cross-Channel ports, with 18 million passengers passing through each year. Regular ferry services operate from Dover to Calais and Dunkerque. A regular catamaran service to Boulogne recommenced in May 2004. Catamaran services provided by Hoverspeed to Ostend were withdrawn in 2003, and to Calais on 7 November 2005. Hoverspeed had previously operated hovercraft services to and from Calais and Boulogne for many years.

Dover is represented in Parliament by the Labour MP Gwyn Prosser.

Since 1836 the town of Dover (originally being the two parishes of Dover St. Mary's and Dover St. James) has incorporated the ancient villages and parishes of Buckland and Charlton. These are now suburbs of the town.

Most of the western half of the town is in Hougham parish and a small part of the eastern section and Dover Castle are in Guston parish

Maxton was once a hamlet of Hougham parish to the west of Dover, and the terminus of the tramway system serving the town until its closure in 1936. It is now a suburb of the town.


As the closest point in Britain to France, Dover has been strategically important, vulnerable to invasion and an important port for millennia.

Bronze Age

In 1992, a waterlogged boat was discovered in a depth of 6 m that dates to the Bronze Age and is one of the oldest seagoing vessels ever recovered. It has been dated by the radiocarbon method to ca. 1550 BC.

The Langdon Bay hoard, discovered in 1974 off the Dover coast contains bronze axes of a French type and may represent the cargo of a sunken vessel, thus demonstrating cross-channel trade already for the Bronze Age, if not earlier. Both this hoard and the boat are on display in a new purpose-built gallery of the Dover Museum in Market Square.


In Roman times it became an important fortified port named Portus Dubris. Dover was the starting point of the Watling Street Roman road, and was an important harbour of the Classis Britannica.

In around AD 50 the Romans built two lighthouses, one on either side of the then-river- estuary (now silted-up, one on the Western Heights whose few remains are now within the Drop Redoubt, and the other which still stands to its full height in the grounds of Dover Castle, making it one of the oldest buildings in Britain. The " Painted House" is a Roman mansio from about AD 200 and one of the best preserved Roman houses in Britain. On the same site and nearby there is also a Classis Britannica fort and the Saxon Shore Fort which was built over them both.

Anglo-Saxon and Norman, to 1200

Dover seafront, with the castle overlooking the beach.
Dover seafront, with the castle overlooking the beach.

After the Battle of Hastings in October 1066, William the Conqueror and his forces marched to Westminster Abbey for his coronation. They took a roundabout route, via Romney, Dover, Canterbury, Surrey and Berkshire. From the Cinque Ports's foundation in 1050, Dover has always been a chief member - it may also have been this that first attracted William's attention, and got Kent the motto of Invicta. In the words of William of Poitiers:

Then he marched to Dover, which had been reported impregnable and held by a large force. The English, stricken with fear at his approach had confidence neither in their ramparts nor in the numbers of their troops ... While the inhabitants were preparing to surrender unconditionally, [the Normans], greedy for booty, set fire to the castle and the great part of it was soon enveloped in flames...[William then paid for the repair and] having taken possession of the castle, the Duke spent eight days adding new fortifications to it'.

Archaeological evidence suggests that a new castle was constructed near the Saxon church of St. Mary de Castro in what is now Dover Castle, rather than or as well as repairing the old burgh.

The Domesday Book of only 20 years later states that before the conquest Dover's value had been £18 but was now £40. Clearly Dover had quickly been rebuilt.

The Normans also built the churches of St Mary the Virgin, Dover (on the foundations of a Roman structure - it still stands) and of St. James the Apostle (as an aisleless nave with a short tower - perhaps on the site of a Saxon church partly destroyed in 1066 - destroyed in World War Two, ruins visible) and reconstituted the Saxon monastic church of St Martin le Grand, as well as founding a new Dover Priory on another site, also dedicated to St. Martin. Several surviving buildings and various ruins of Dover Priory have been incorporated in to Dover College


Dover Harbour viewed from the Castle
Dover Harbour viewed from the Castle
Dover Harbour viewed from a plane
Dover Harbour viewed from a plane

St Martin le Grand dominated Market Square, being over 150 feet long. It housed the altars of three parish churches; St. Mary, St. Nicholas and St. John the Baptist and had the churches of St. Peter and St. James subordinate to it. The church was finally dismantled around 1540 although the remains of some of the walls survived into the 19th century.

In 1216, Dover was attacked by the French and successfully defended from Dover Castle by Hubert de Burgh - it was less lucky in 1295 when 10,000 French burnt most of Dover to the ground. It nevertheless flourished as the closest port to the continent.

Medieval buildings:

  • Maison Dieu


Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, both threatened by continental invasion,also made improvements to Dover's defences, both the castle and Moat Bulwark (making a personal visit to the castle to do so).


During the Civil War Dover declared for the king but was captured by the Parliamentarians without a siege. Charles II landed here at the restoration and on May 26, 1670 signed a secret treaty here ending hostilities with Louis XIV of France.

Napoleonic Wars

Dover became a garrison town heavily defended against the threat of French invasion. Napoleon's troops, gathered at Boulogne, could be seen from Dover on a clear day.

At first earthen batteries were built along the seafront and across the Western Heights (to supplement the medieval castle, which had been superseded by developments in military technology and artillery). These were later improved in 1804 with a massive building programme in stone and brick on the Western Heights, creating two cutting-edge forts, deep brick-lined ditches, and the Grand Shaft, a unique 140ft triple staircase, linking the town to the forts and enabling troops from the hilltop barracks to be rapidly deployed at the seafront.

19th century

Between 1801 and 1901 the population increased by 600 percent. The habour was finally rebuilt as a set of artificial moles, and the town tried to become a seaside resort by building a pleasure pier, ice rink, bathing machines and impressive seafront crescents of hotels and apartments. The railways arrived and cross-channel traffic boomed - the town were even combined with boat trains and the Golden Arrow service.

A Map of Dover from 1945
A Map of Dover from 1945

20th century

In the 20th century Dover became the centre of English Channel defense during World War I, as the base for the Dover Patrol.

The white cliffs of Dover
The white cliffs of Dover

In World War I it was, with Folkestone, one of the main troop embarkation ports for France. It was also bombed by airplanes and zeppelins (the first bomb to be dropped on England fell near Dover Castle on Christmas Eve 1914) and shelled by passing warships. This forced residents to shelter in caves and dug-outs. The town became known as 'Fortress Dover' and was put under martial law. In World War II this developed into sustained bombing and shelling by cross-channel guns, causing 3,059 alerts, killing 216 civilians, and damaging 10,056 premises. A series of underground caves and tunnels in the cliffs were used as air-raid shelters (and as a military base, coordinating Operation Dynamo, whose ships landed at Dover) during the war and Dover became a wartime symbol as part of East Kent's ' Hellfire Corner'.


  • See also Dover Grammar School for BoysSpecialist Business College
  • Astor College for the Arts - the first specialist Arts College in Kent Astor College Website
  • Dover Grammar School for Girls
  • St Edmund's Roman Catholic School: Specialist College for the Performing Arts
  • Archers Court Maths and Computing College
  • South Kent College
  • Dover College
  • Duke of Yorks Royal Military School
  • The Harbour School

And various primary schools including:

  • Melbourne School
  • Temple Ewell
  • River
  • Guston
  • Priory Fields
  • St Martin's
  • St Richard's
  • St Mary's
  • St Radigund's
  • Aycliffe
  • Vale View
  • Whitfield
  • Shatterlocks Infants School
  • Barton Junior School
  • Charlton Primary School


Dover Athletic F.C. are Dover's football team. They are a non-league side.

Dover Life Guard Club are Dover's competitive swimming club.

Dover Sharks R.F.C. are Dover's competitive Rugby Union team. They are non- league.

Places of interest

  • Dover Castle ( Wikipmapia)
  • Admiralty Pier Turret
  • Dover Western Heights
  • Fort Burgoyne
  • North Downs Way
  • Roman Painted House
  • Saxon Shore Way

Other interesting places:

  • Dover Transport Museum Dover Transport Mus Website
  • Dover Museum, and Bronze Age Boat Dover Museum Website
  • Kearsney Abbey
  • Russell Gardens
  • Samphire Hoe Nature Reserve
  • Cowgate Nature Reserve
  • Connaught Park
  • Seafront promenade
  • St Edmund's Chapel
  • Dover Port Dover Harbour Board

Famous Residents

  • Joss Stone born Joscelyn Eve Stoker was born in Dover's Buckland Hospital in 1987 before moving to Ashill, Devon at the age of 6.
  • Charlotte Bellamy the actress who plays Laurel Potts in Emmerdale was born in Dover.
  • Topper Headon of 'The Clash' fame now lives in River on the outskirts of Dover
  • Shane Taylor the actor was born and raised in Dover attending Dover's Astor College for the Arts where his father is the caretaker and groundsman.

Health Care

  • Dover has one hospital, Buckland Hospital located in a former Victorian workhouse on Coombe Valley Road. The town once had 4 hospitals, Buckland, Royal Victoria, Isolation and the Eye Hospitals located at various points across the town plus the hidden Underground Hospital underneath Dover Castle which was a secret hospital for use during World War 2.

Buckland Hospital is currently threatened with closure and a local campaign backed by the Dover Soul Website and various local organisations are trying to stop the cuts facing the hospital.

Buckland Hospital also has a hospital radio station founded in 1968, the Gateway Hospital Broadcasting Service is the oldest hospital radio station in East Kent.


The current mayor is:

  • Jan Tranter (2006 - 2007)

The mayor's term runs from May to May and they are a member of Dover Town Council. The previous mayor was Jan's husband Ken Tranter from 2005 - 2006.

Twin Towns




  • Statham, History of Dover, with a bibliography (London, 1899)
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