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Panel 3 - The Market Hall

Dover is recorded in the Domesday Book as having a Guildhall before the Norman Conquest in 1066, but its site is unknown. A fair or market has been held here since at least 1160. The most important was the annual St. Martin’s Fair.

A new Guildhall, or Court Hall, was built in the centre of the Square in 1605. This replaced a Market Cross. It was built on wooden pillars so that the market could still be held underneath. The Guildhall was used as a council chamber and then a Museum after the Corporation moved its offices to the Maison Dieu. It was demolished in 1861.

A replacement Market Hall, the façade of which still stands as part of the Museum and Visitor Information Centre, was designed by Edmund Woodthorpe. It was built in 1846 by local builder George Fry for £3,448. It was used as a new museum and still had a covered market below.

This Market Hall stood on the site of the original Town Gaol, which had first been built in 1746. It  was rebuilt in 1820 by architect Richard Elsam after being wrecked by a mob, and then moved to  the Town Hall in 1834.

The Market Hall building was badly damaged by bombs and shells during the Second World War. It was closed and the museum moved to the Town Hall. The museum returned to the Market Square
in 1991 behind the original frontage of the Market Hall and Museum building.




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Dover Museum
Market Square
Kent CT16 1PH

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