A view showing the curvature of one of the stairways.
When it used to be completely open to the public the Grand Shaft provided an easy way to reach the beach.
After a days swimming, however, the long climb up was a different story!
Legend has it that one staircase was labelled "Officers and their Ladies", the second, "Senior NCO's and their Wives", and the third, "Other Ranks and their Women".
From a military point of view, however, it would make sense - particularly during an 'emergency' - to introduce a dynamically allocated 'one-way' system.
If troops needed to be quickly dispatched to the port area below, for example, then designating, say, two of the staircases to be 'down only' would result in an unimpeded descent.
Image/photo taken on 5th June, 2005.
Click for information on open days.
The Grand Shaft, built between 1806-1809, is only part of Dover's extensive Napoleonic defenses - click on Western Heights and then check the tag list for all the locations covered (eg Drop Redoubt, North Centre Bastion, North Entrance - more will be added as time goes on).
Also see St Martin's Battery
Work began on Dover's Western Heights fortifications in the 1770s and was intensified, first in the early 1800s because of Napoleon I (Napoleon Bonaparte), and again in the mid-Nineteenth Century because of Napoleon III (originally known as Charles Louis Napoleon Bonaparte).
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Photo taken in Dover, Kent, UK
Misplaced? Suggest new location