Aerial view of Dover Harbour
Dover shown within Kent
|Population||31,022 (2011 Census)|
|OS grid reference|
|– London||77.8 miles (125.2 km)|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Postcode district||CT16, CT17|
|Ambulance||South East Coast|
|EU Parliament||South East England|
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Dover (//; French: Douvres) is a town and major ferry port in the home county of Kent, in South East England. It faces France across the strait of Dover, the narrowest part of the English Channel, and lies south-east of Canterbury; east of Kent's county town Maidstone; and north-east along the coastline from Dungeness and Hastings. The town is the administrative centre of the Dover District and home of the Dover Calais ferry through the Port of Dover. The surrounding chalk cliffs have become known as the White Cliffs of Dover.
Its strategic position has been evident throughout its history: archaeological finds have revealed that the area has always been a focus for peoples entering and leaving Britain. The name of the town derives from the name of the river that flows through it, the River Dour. The town has been inhabited since the Stone Age according to archaeological finds, and Dover is one of only a few places in Britain – London, Edinburgh, and Cornwall being other examples – to have a corresponding name in the French language, Douvres.
There was a military barracks in Dover, which was closed in 2007. Although many of the former ferry services have declined, services related to the Port of Dover provide a great deal of the town’s employment, as does tourism. The prospect of privatising the sale of the Port of Dover to create increased cash flow for the government was given a recent ironic twist due to the rejection of a possible bid from the town of Calais in France after opposition in Dover against any sale forced the government to withdraw the Port from the market. Local residents had clubbed together to propose buying it for the community, more than 12,000 people have bought a £10 share in the People's Port Trust.
- 1 History
- 2 Geography and climate
- 3 Demography
- 4 Economy
- 5 RNLI
- 6 Education
- 7 Public services
- 8 Local media
- 9 Culture
- 10 International relations
- 11 Sports
- 12 Places of interest
- 13 Notable people
- 14 Literature
- 15 References
- 16 Related Links
- 17 External links
The name Dover was first recorded in Latinised form as Portus Dubris, which was for many years explained as derived from the Brythonic Dubrās ("the waters") referring to its river Dour. However, a recent detailed study  showed that the name is far more likely to come from an ancient word for 'double bank' referring to the shingle spit(s) that formed across the harbour entrance, for which a word dover is still used in the Isle of Wight. Subsequent name forms included Doverre; the modern name was in use at least by the time Shakespeare wrote King Lear (between 1603 and 1606), in which the town and its cliffs play a prominent role. The cliffs may have given England its ancient name of Albion ("white").
Dover’s history, because of its proximity to France, has always been of great strategic importance to Britain. Archaeological finds have shown that there were Stone Age people in the area; and that by the Bronze Age the maritime influence was already strong. Some Iron Age finds exist also, but the coming of the Romans made Dover part of their communications network. Like Lemanis (Lympne) and Rutupiae (Richborough) Dover was connected by road to Canterbury and Watling Street; and it became Portus Dubris, a fortified port. Forts were built above the port; lighthouses were constructed to guide passing ships; and one of the best-preserved Roman villas in Britain is here.
Dover figured largely in the Domesday Book as an important borough. It also served as a bastion against various attackers: notably the French during the Napoleonic Wars; and against Germany during the Second World War. It was one of the Cinque Ports during medieval times.
Geography and climate
Dover is near the extreme south-east corner of Britain between Deal and Folkestone. At South Foreland, the nearest point to the continent, Cap Gris Nez near Calais is 34 kilometres (21 mi) away, across the Strait of Dover - because of this, the town is strongly associated with France
The site of its original settlement lies in the valley of the River Dour, making it an ideal place for a port, sheltered from the prevailing south-westerly winds. This led to the silting up of the river mouth by the action of longshore drift; the town was then forced into making artificial breakwaters to keep the port in being. These breakwaters have been extended and adapted so that the port lies almost entirely on reclaimed land.
The higher land on either side of the valley – the Western Heights and the eastern high point on which Dover Castle stands – has been adapted to perform the function of protection against invaders. The town has gradually extended up the river valley, encompassing several villages in doing so. Little growth is possible along the coast, since the cliffs are on the sea’s edge. The railway, being tunnelled and embanked, skirts the foot of the cliffs.
Dover has an oceanic climate (Koppen classification Cfb) similar to the rest of the United Kingdom with mild temperatures year-round and a light amount of rainfall each month. The warmest recorded temperature was 31 °C (88 °F) and the coldest was −8 °C (18 °F), but the temperature is usually between 3 °C (37 °F) and 21.1 °C (70.0 °F). There is evidence that the sea is coldest in February; the warmest recorded temperature for February was only 13 °C (55 °F), compared with 16 °C (61 °F) in January.
|Climate data for Dover Harbour (Beach), elevation: 0m (1981-2010)|
|Record high °C (°F)||16
|Average high °C (°F)||7.8
|Daily mean °C (°F)||5.6
|Average low °C (°F)||3.3
|Record low °C (°F)||−5
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||74.9
|Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm)||12.3||10.6||10.6||10.5||8.1||8.2||8.2||8.0||10.2||11.6||12.6||12.7||123.5|
|Average relative humidity (%)||88||86||84||81||83||84||84||82||82||84||87||88||84.4|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||66.0||83.4||117.5||185.2||214.7||213.3||221.6||223.4||159.4||126.0||76.7||55.8||1,743|
|Source #1: Met Office|
|Source #2: weather2|
With the expansion of Dover, many of the outlying ancient villages have been incorporated into the town. Originally the parishes of Dover St. Mary's and Dover St. James, since 1836 Buckland and Charlton have become part Dover, and Maxton (a hamlet to the west), River, Kearsney, Temple Ewell, and Whitfield, all to the north of the town centre, are within its conurbation.
The Dover Harbour Board is the responsible authority for the running of the Port of Dover. The English Channel, here at its narrowest point in the Straits of Dover, is the busiest shipping lane in the world. Ferries crossing between here and the Continent have to negotiate their way through the constant stream of shipping crossing their path. The Dover Strait Traffic Separation Scheme allots ships separate lanes when passing through the Strait. The Scheme is controlled by the Channel Navigation Information Service based at Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre Dover. MRCC Dover is also charged with co-ordination of civil maritime search and rescue within these waters.
The Port of Dover is also used by cruise ships. The old Dover Marine railway station building houses one passenger terminal, together with a car park. A second, purpose built, terminal is located further out along the pier.
The ferry lines using the port are (number of daily sailings in parentheses):
These services have been cut in recent years:
- P&O Ferries sailings to Boulogne (5 daily) were withdrawn in 1993 and Zeebrugge (4 daily) in 2002.
- SNCF withdrew their three train ferry sailings on the opening of the Channel Tunnel.
- Regie voor Maritiem Transport moved their Ostend service of three sailings daily to Ramsgate in 1994; this route was operated by TransEuropa Ferries until April 2013.
- Stena Line merged their 20 Calais sailings into the current P&O operation in 1998.
- Hoverspeed ceased operations in 2005 and withdrew their 8 daily sailings.
- SpeedFerries ceased operations in 2008 and withdrew their 5 daily sailings.
- LD Lines ceased the Dover-Dieppe service on 29 June 2009 and Dover-Boulogne 5 September 2010.
- SeaFrance ceased operations in 2012 of their Dover-Calais service which was their only service.
Dover Harbour, from the cliffs above.
Dover’s main communications artery, the A2 road replicates two former routes, connecting the town with Canterbury. The Roman road was followed for centuries until, in the late 18th century, it became a toll road. Stagecoaches were operating: one description stated that the journey took all day to reach London, from 4am to being "in time for supper".
The railway reached Dover from two directions: the South Eastern Railway's main line connected with Folkestone in 1844, and the London, Chatham and Dover Railway opened its line from Canterbury in 1861. Trains run from Dover Priory to London Charing Cross, London Victoria or London St Pancras International stations in London, and Ramsgate or Sandwich in Kent. Trains from Dover Priory are run by Southeastern (train operating company).
A tram system operated in the town from 1897 to 1936.
More recently, ferries on the Dover to Dunkirk route have also become popular. This service was originally operated by ferry operator Norfolkline. This company was later acquired by the pan European operator DFDS Seaways in July 2010 . The crossing time is approximately two hours. Due to this route not being as well known as Dover to Calais, prices are often cheaper. The location of Dunkirk is also more convenient for those travelling on to countries in Northern Europe including Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and further afield.
Stagecoach in East Kent provide local bus services. Dover is on the Stagecoach Diamond network providing links to Canterbury and Deal. The Western Docks at the port of Dover are served from the Town Centre as well as Canterbury and Deal. Dover is the start of The Wave network to New Romney via Folkestone, Hythe and Dymchurch. There are services to Lydd via Lydd Airport, with one continuing from Lydd on to Hastings via Camber and Rye. There is a link to Sandwich and Ramsgate. Buses run from Dover to Canterbury via Aylesham.
National Express runs coaches from Dover to other towns in Kent including Canterbury, Folkestone, Ashford, Kent, Maidstone, Gillingham at Hempsted Valley shopping centre and Greenhithe at Bluewater Shopping Centre for Dartford to London including Bexleyheath, Eltham, Walworth, Canary Wharf, Elephant & Castle, The City (The City of London) and to Victoria Coach Station
All buses serve Pencester Road except route 68 to Maxton operated by Regent Coaches.
The town's main shopping streets are the High Street and Biggin Street. The Castleton Retail Park is to the north-west of the town centre. There are empty shops in Dover.
There are plans to open a 6 screen Cineworld Cinema and leisure element ( Restaurants) at St James but not until 2017. It has been recently announced that Marks and Spencer will relocate to St James Development and that the current M and S general store will close. The new 16,000 sq feet store at St James will be an M and S Simply Food with café only and will not sell clothing or homeware unlike the current store which will shut in 2016. Simmonds Jeweller's will close their Dover branch after 40 years in January 2014. The M and S general store and Simmonds branch in nearby Deal will remain open.
Independent stores continue to grow in Dover, but the main town centre of Dover remains in decline compared to other towns like Deal (Telegraph High Street of the Year 2013), Canterbury, Westwood Cross and Ashford who continue to take trade away from Dover.
Marks and Spencer Simply food is the only anchor store at the new St James and as of December 2013, the only retailer confirmed for the development.
The Dover lifeboat is a Severn class lifeboat based in the Western Docks. Dover Lifeboat station is based at crosswall quay in Dover Harbour. There is a Severn-class lifeboat, which is the biggest in the fleet. It belongs to the RNLI which covers all of Great Britain. The lifeboat number is 17-09 and has a lot of emergencies in the Channel. The Severn class is designed to lay afloat. Built from fibre reinforced composite (FRC) the boat is lightweight yet very strong and is designed to right itself in the event of a capsize.
There are nine secondary level schools, 16 primary schools and two schools for special education.
Non-selective secondary schools include Astor College, St Edmund's Catholic School and Dover Christ Church Academy. Dover Grammar School for Boys and Dover Grammar School for Girls are the main grammar schools for the town.
Astor College for the Arts federated with St Radigunds Primary School (then renamed White Cliffs Primary College for the Arts) to form the Dover Federation for the Arts (DFA). Subsequently Barton Junior School and Shatterlocks Nursery and Infant School joined the DFA. It has been a very successful Federation recognised by OFSTED with two schools rated as Outstanding and two being Good with outstanding features. Currently (November 2011) the DFA have applied to become a Federation of Academies. In 2014 the Dover Federation for the Arts was warned by the Department for Education about "unacceptably low standards of performance of pupils ". 
The Duke of York's Royal Military School, England's only military boarding school for children of service personnel (co-ed ages 11–18), is also located in Dover, next to the former site of Connaught Barracks.
Dover has one hospital, Buckland Hospital built in 2015 and located just along from its previous location ( A former Victorian workhouse) on Coombe Valley Road. The town once had four hospitals, Buckland, Royal Victoria, Isolation and the Eye Hospitals located at various points across the town. Buckland Hospital is currently (2008) threatened with closure and various local organisations are trying to stop the cuts facing the hospital.
Dover was the home to television studios and production offices of Southern Television Ltd, the company which operated the ITV franchise for South and South East England from 1958-1981. The studios were located on Russell Street and were home to programmes like 'Scene South East', 'Scene Midweek', 'Southern News', 'Farm Progress' and the nightly epilogue, 'Guideline'. The studios were operated by TVS in 1982 and home to 'Coast to Coast', however they closed a year later when the company moved their operations to the newly complete Television Centre in Maidstone.
Dover has two paid for newspapers, the Dover Express (published by Kent Regional News and Media) and the Dover Mercury (published by the KM Group). Free newspapers for the town include the Dover and Deal Extra, part of the KM Group; and yourdover, part of KOS Media.
Dover has one local commercial radio station, KMFM Shepway and White Cliffs Country, broadcasting to Dover on 106.8FM. The station was founded in Dover as Neptune Radio in September 1997 but moved to Folkestone in 2003 and was consequently rebranded after a takeover by the KM Group. Dover is also served by the county-wide stations Heart, Gold and BBC Radio Kent.
The Gateway Hospital Broadcasting Service, in Buckland Hospital radio, closed at the end of 2006. It was the oldest hospital radio station in East Kent being founded in 1968.
Dover Community Radio (DCR) currently offer internet programming and podcasts on local events and organisations on their website. The online station of the same name launched on 30 July 2011 offering local programmes, music and news for Dover and district.
Twin towns / Sister cities
Dover has three twin towns:
Dover Leisure Centre, is operated by Your Leisure, a not for profit charitable trust, caters for a wide range of sports and activities including a 25m swimming pool, teaching pool, sports hall, gym, fitness classes, sauna and steam room, is located on Townwall Street.
There are sports clubs catering for the usual range of sports, among them football (Dover Athletic F.C.) who play in the conference Premier league; rugby; rowing; swimming; water polo and netball (Dover and District Netball League).
One event which gets media attention is that of swimming the English Channel.
Places of interest
- Blériot memorial: the outline of Louis Blériot's aircraft, marked with granite setts, at the exact spot where Blériot landed after the first cross-Channel flight, 1909
- Dover Castle
- White Cliffs of Dover
- Dover Western Heights
- Dover Museum
- Roman Painted House Museum
- Dover Transport Museum
- Samphire Hoe
- Seafront promenade
- South Foreland Lighthouse
- Pines Garden
- St Edmund's Chapel
- Connaught Park
- Kearsney Abbey
- Russel Gardens & Bushy Ruff
- St Mary's Church
- St James' Church: preserved as a "tidy ruin"
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Dover.|
|Wikisource has the text of a 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article about Dover.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Dover.|