Drawbridge 1 Steps, North Centre Bastion, Western Heights, Dover, Kent, UK (1)

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Comments (4)

John Latter on April 7, 2007

The steps leading from the North Center Bastion 'island' down to Drawbridge 1 (opposite view).

The steps are quite steep and their tread depth so shallow that there may be an instinctive tendency to quicken the descent in order for the whole foot to feel on solid ground again. This impulse to accelerate must be resisted :)

On the day this photo was taken I lost my torch twice while on the island surface. On the first occasion I descended these steps to search for it with a cheap throw-away lighter. The lighter soon gave up the ghost (a brilliant lead-in to: 'See the Ghost Photo'!) ...at which point I could see daylight at the top of the steps and the merest, tiniest, glimmer of light at the bottom where one or two photons had fallen into Tunnel 1 (running left to right) via embrasures on the far side of the tunnel wall.

The steps themselves were in total darkness. A slip at this point would have caused me to bounce down the steps until I crashed into the remaining framework of the drawbridge - if I was lucky, that is.

If I had slipped and been unlucky then I would have bounced down the steps as before but this time I wouldn't have sustained any injury from crashing into the drawbridge at all. Instead, I would have missed it altogether and plunged into the pit beneath.

Visits to the North Center Bastion are always 'exciting'! :)

(An account of the second time I lost my torch)

Standard Info:

The North Center Bastion 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, Grand Shaft, North Entrance - more will be added as time goes on).

John Latter on April 7, 2007

Annotated satellite view of the North Center Bastion showing tunnel systems, drawbridges, surface features, etc,.

John Latter on November 21, 2010

The correct name for Tunnel 1 is the West Gallery

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).

John Latter / Jorolat

Dover Blog: The Psychology of a Small Town

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on April 7, 2007
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by John Latter
    • Camera: PENTAX Corporation PENTAX Optio 33LF
    • Taken on 2007/04/01 10:01:04
    • Exposure: 0.017s (1/60)
    • Focal Length: 5.80mm
    • F/Stop: f/2.600
    • ISO Speed: ISO200
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • Flash fired