Arms of Dover Borough Council
This article is about the English port. For other uses see Dover (disambiguation).
Dover is a major channel port in the English county of Kent. In the 2001 census it had a population of 28,156. The surrounding Dover district has a population of 104,688.
It is the closest English point of proximity to France and continental Europe being only 21 miles (34 kilometres) from the French port of Calais. It 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 word for water.
Due to its closeness to continental Europe Dover is one of the busiest cross Channel ports of the United Kingdom, with 18 million passengers passing through every year. Regular ferry and catamaran services operate from Dover to Calais and Dunkerque. A regular service to Boulogne-sur-Mer recommenced in May 2004. Hoverspeed also offers an Ostend service that combines its catamaran route to Calais with a bus to Ostend.
Dover is represented in Parliament by the Labour MP Gwyn Prosser.
Maxton was once a rural parish to the west of Dover, and the terminus of the tramway system serving the town until its closure in 1938, and is now a suburb of the town.
White Cliffs above Dover Harbour, ca. 1980
Dover has been an important port for millennia. 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 finds are on display in 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 (British fleet).
The Romans built a lighthouse in the grounds of what is now Dover Castle in around AD 50 which stil survives, making it one of the oldest buildings in Britain. The "Painted House" is a Roman mansion from about AD 200 and one of the best preserved Roman houses in Britain. In late Roman times.
In Anglo-Saxon times a fort was built, which was the first part of what became Dover Castle. In 1216, Dover was attacked by the French and succesfully defended by Hubert de Burgh. In medieval times Dover became a chief member of the Cinque Ports.
During the English Civil War it was taken by the parliamentarians in 1642.
On May 26, 1670 Charles II of England and Louis XIV of France secretly signed a treaty here which ended hostilities between their kingdoms.
In the 20th century Dover became the centre of English Channel defense during World War I. And during World War II the town was repeatedly bombarded by German bombers and long-range guns. A series of underground caves and tunnels in the cliffs were used as air-raid shelters during the war.
Dover Athletic F.C. are Dover's football team. They are a non-league side.
Places of Interest
- Comprehensive history (includes list of Dover's Mayors) (http://www.dover-web.co.uk/menu_history.asp)
- Dover Museum (http://www.dover.gov.uk/museum/info.htm)