Drawbridge 3, South Caponier, North Centre Bastion, Western Heights, Dover, Kent, UK

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Comments (3)

John Latter on April 3, 2007

(Also see: Satellite view of the North Center Bastion annotated with tunnel system locations, surface features, drawbridges, etc.)

The actual structure of Drawbridge 3 was probably removed during the Second World War which is when the doorway brickwork dates from.

Until recent years the underlying pit was completely filled in, flush with the floor. People often didn't realize there was a drawbridge there - after seeing the ruin of the first two drawbridges, conversations with first-time visitors sometimes went like this:

"Where's this third drawbridge then??"

"You're standing on it"

"Oh GOLLY!" (or similar..)

Pub conversations with locals who swear blind they know 'Dead Man's Island' like the backs of their hands can be equally satisfying:

"There ain't no THIRD drawbridge!!"



"Is too"


"If there's a third drawbridge..", said almost purringly as the trap is set:


"Then where are THE FREAKIN' COUNTERWEIGHTS??!!" This last is usually accompanied by a triumphant turning of the head from side to side as they seek acclaim from whatever audience may be listening.

"Recessed into the walls on the far side of the brick doorway - you can just see them from small access slots built into the walls"



This half of Tunnel 2 is the only part of any of the tunnel systems to be above ground.

The North Center Bastion is part of Dover's Napoleonic defenses built on, or rather embedded into, the Western Heights.

(Alt: North Centre Bastion)

John Latter on November 16, 2010

The English Heritage Pastscape entry for the North Centre Bastion and Detached Bastion reads (1):

TR 3110 4083 North Centre and Detached Bastions

North Centre Bastion was begun in 1804 during the Napoleonic Wars, as part of the Western Heights fortress in Dover. It remained unfinished at the end of the war in 1815 but was completed to a revised design between 1859 and 1867; this resulted in two linked bastions known as North Centre Bastion and Detached Bastion (2).

Both were surveyed and researched by the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England between 1998 and 2001 as part of the Dover Western Heights Survey Project (event UID 1316220 and monument UID 467989). See the archive report and plans for full details: Pattison P The Western Heights, Dover, Kent; Report no 5 North Centre and Detached Bastions.

An English Heritage site and Scheduled Monument; the Detached Baastion is also known as "Dead Man's Island".

Photos of the Detached Bastion are included under the North Centre Bastion tag.

(1) Pastscape: North Centre Bastion

(2) The bastions are linked by the South Caponier (see South Caponier interior; South Caponier exterior).

All photos of Dover's 'Forgotten Fortress' can be found under the Western Heights tag which includes the Drop Redoubt, Grand Shaft, North Entrance, Pre-Napoleonic Earthworks, and St Martins Battery.

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on April 3, 2007
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by John Latter
    • Camera: PENTAX Corporation PENTAX Optio 33LF
    • Taken on 2007/04/01 09:54:26
    • Exposure: 0.017s (1/60)
    • Focal Length: 5.80mm
    • F/Stop: f/2.600
    • ISO Speed: ISO200
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • Flash fired