Monday, 2 June 2014

The prison on Dover's White Cliffs

Did you know that in the nineteenth century a prison was built on top of the famous White Cliffs of Dover?  The intention was that the convicts there incarcerated would be usefully employed building the new docks and breakwater in Dover but it did not work out like that and they sewed mailbags instead. It is just as well because I don't think that the building has ever stopped in the port of Dover.

This is the port of Dover on a murky June day. For those of you who are reading my latest book, Neither Civil nor Servant, this is where some of the action took place. The pier on the left is the Eastern Arm where Fergus could not get off the ship because the gangway was too steep. Follow it around the curve of the southern breakwater to the other side of the bay and you are in Western Docks, where I caused mayhem in the passenger hall by swinging the pendant light sockets. The most modern terminal, Dover Hoverport, where I upset Germans by mentioning Spitfires (you really must read the book) has already been demolished. At the right edge of the picture is the silhouette of two rectangles; these are Dover Castle where, I am ashamed to admit, I invented the technique of bouncing passports on the ceiling.

Perhaps I ought to be locked up. 

Talking of which, these three flights of steps are practically all that remains of the prison on top of the White Cliffs. They are now used by visitors at the National Trust centre to reach the car parks which have been established on the terraced foundations of the original prison.

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