19th Century Dover
Nineteenth Century Defences
In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Dover became a garrison town heavily defended against the threat of French invasion.
At first earthen batteries were built along the seafront and across the Western Heights of Dover to supplement the limited protection offered by the medieval castle against cannon and shells.
In 1804, with invasion expected at any time, a massive programme of defensive building in stone and brick began on the Western Heights creating two forts and deep brick-lined ditches.
A unique 140ft triple staircase, the Grand Shaft, linked the town to the forts.
The nineteenth century was a period of great change for Dover.
The coming of the railways and trams, the redevelopment of the harbour on a massive scale, the growth of the cross channel passage and the expansion of local industries led to a rapid growth in the size of the town. Between 1801 and 1901 the population increased by 600 percent.
Attempts were made to develop the town as a seaside resort through the provisions of a pleasure pier, ice rink, bathing machines and impressive seafront crescents of hotels and apartments
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