Stairway Window, Grand Shaft, Western Heights, Dover, Kent, United Kingdom

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John Latter on May 10, 2007

A view through one window into the next on one of the three spiral stairways of the Grand Shaft indicating their curvature. Part of the defenses built on the Western Heights in Dover during the Napoleonic Wars.

Standard Info:

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 details

  • Uploaded on March 26, 2007
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by John Latter
    • Camera: PENTAX Corporation PENTAX Optio 33LF
    • Taken on 2005/06/05 10:28:31
    • Exposure: 0.017s (1/60)
    • Focal Length: 5.80mm
    • F/Stop: f/2.600
    • ISO Speed: ISO200
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • Flash fired

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