Friday, June 7, 2013

the Port of Dover

The gap in the cliffs, plus its proximity to the continent, has meant that the site of Dover has been used for shipping from at least Roman times.  A small artificial harbour has existed since at least 1495. From 1606, the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports had responsibility for the harbour. Soon it was used by small fast sailing craft carrying mails to Calais and Ostend - the first Channel 'packets'. By the mid 18th Century, three dock basins had been constructed.

The Prince of Wales Pier was opened in 1902. This had a stone outer end connecting to land by a cast iron section. Large ocean-going passenger liners such as the "Deutschland" and "Amerika" of the Hamburg America Line called here for a time.  The cast iron section was boxed in with concrete when the Western Docks Hoverport was built in 1978.  The Admiralty Pier protecting the west of the harbour was opened in 1909 by King George V, as the final part of the Admiralty Harbour. The pier was later widened at the seaward end, and Dover Marine Station opened for public services in 1919 (it had been used for hospital trains in the First World War). Dover Harbour Board took full control of the port in 1923.

The first tentative steps towards car ferries began in 1928.  Ships loaded cars with cranes unless tides suited portable side ramps.

Prince of Wales Pier

S.S. Amerika at Dover

S.S. Deutschland at Dover

Admiralty Pier and Harbour, Dover

Admiralty Pier and Harbour, Dover

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