A View of the Harbour
Below you is Admiralty Harbour, the naval and merchant port that made Dover so important in the First and Second World Wars. There has been a harbour here since Roman times: this one was built in stages between 1847 and 1909 and opened by the Prince of Wales, later King George V (r.1910-36).
The harbour enclosed an area of 610 acres (247 hectares) for Royal Navy (RN) ships and 68 acres (27.5 hectares) for merchant vessels. Big guns were mounted on the walls for defence, along with searchlights, so that the guns could fire effectively at night.
The guns and lights were controlled from the Fire Command Post, on the ground floor of this building, by a network of telephones.
Here on the roof, in the Second World War, signallers from the Port War Signal Station below sent and received messages to and from RN ships, using flags or flashing lamps. They also watched for enemy vessels and aircraft in the Straits of Dover - on a clear day the coast of France can be seen, 21 miles (33.8km) away.
( photo captions )
- A view of Admiralty Harbour, as imagined in 1898, 11 years before it was ready. The commanding position of the castle (top centre) is evident.
- An impression of the German submarine attack on Admiralty Harbour in January 1915, one of four
such attacks in late 1914 and early 1915. A submarine periscope is in the centre foreground.