Admiralty Pier 1847 - 1893
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In 1847 work began on Admiralty Pier. It was designed by James Walker and commissioned by the Admiralty. By 1851 the pier had reached a sufficient length to solve the problem of shingle in the harbour mouth and cross-channel streamers were able to berth alongside.
The South Eastern Railway reached Dover via Folkestone in 1844 and the plans for the pier were altered to provide a station which could deliver passengers and goods directly to the gang-planks of the channel boats. Traffic increased with the arrival of the London, Chatham and Dover Railway line in 1861 which was connected with the Pier in 1864.
The first phase of the pier was completed in 1854, and the second in 1864, but the third phase was delayed by discussion as to how it should finish at the seaward end. It was finally decided that a fort with two powerful 80 ton guns should be placed there. It was not until 1880 that the first structure was complete and 1885 before the guns were first fired. It became known as the Admiralty Pier Gun Turret.
The Eastern arm of the Harbour of Refuge was never begun and to meet the demand of cross channel trade, plans were made to build a smaller commercial harbour. The Eastern arm of this, the Prince of Wales Pier, was not begun until 1893.
It was not until 1897 that the contract for Dover's Harbour of Refuge, first considered in 1836, was finally let. Work had already begun on Dover Harbour Board's commercial harbour scheme with the construction of the Prince of Wales Pier and the plans for this were therefore amended.
The plans for the harbour included a 2,000 feet extension of Admiralty Pier, an Eastern arm of 2,900 feet and a breakwater of 4,200 feet. This entirely enclosed the bay leaving an Admiralty harbour of 610 acres and a commercial harbour of 68 acres. The plans for the Admiralty Pier were amended in 1906 to allow the building of a station for the South Eastern and Chatham Railway.
Despite problems with currents caused by the initial building of the Prince of Wales Pier beyond the length of the incomplete Admiralty Pier, Dover flourished and in 1904 transatlantic liners began to use the port. This proved very short-lived with the Hamburg Amerika Line moving to Southampton in 1906 following a series of collisions in the Harbour mouth. The other liner companies following suit over the next two years.
The problems with the entrance were solved when the piers and breakwaters were finished, but this was too late to save the liner traffic. Only in 1996 have liners returned with the opening of the new cruise terminal.
The completed harbour was opened on 14th October 1909 by H. R. H. the Prince of Wales, the future King George V.
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