John Allister in New Street, ex Turne-Againe Lane, Dover, Kent, England, UK

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Comments (6)

John Latter on March 24, 2009

An atmospheric photograph of John Allister walking westwards along New Street towards the York Street bypass at 10.30 am on Sunday, March 22nd, 2009. Dover is in the northern hemisphere and one would expect John's shadow to be on his right, but perhaps sunlight entering from the left (ie south) between the two buildings has been reflected off of unseen windows, thereby creating the 'golden wall' effect.

John and I both went to St Mary's Church of England Primary School in the late 1950s and early 1960s when it was located in Queen Street (it is now at the top of Laureston Place). John was in the year below me, but his ability at football secured him a place in the school football team at the same time as myself. In the 1961-1962 photo of St Mary's School Football Team, John is second from the left in the front row and I'm on the far right of the center row.

The sign on the side of the building above John originally read:


It is the only external reminder of the time when the Metropole Hotel was located above what is now J D Wetherspoon's 'The Eight Bells' public house in Cannon Street. This photo of The Eight Bells shows the main entrance to what was once the Plaza Cinema (then Essoldo Cinema, then Rio Bingo Hall) that also gave access to the Metropole Hotel and Metropole Bars on the upper floors. The doorway in front of John was the side/trade entrance.

Next along from the trade entrance, the cream-coloured building used to be the auditorium's exit adjacent to the cinema's 'Gent's' toilets, the grey-coloured building was an exit by the 'Ladies' toilets. On the skyline above the ladies exit the Drop Redoubt end of Dover's Napoleonic Western Heights fortifications can be seen.

There also used to be Billiard Rooms/Snooker Hall at this end of New Street, and in days gone by, an earlier pub called the Eight Bells: an entry in Barry Smith's 1991 edition of, "By The Way: The Dover Pubs" reads:

Eight Bells (New Street): An early beer-house, probably opening in the 1840s. It stood on the same side as the "Metropole" trade entrance. An outlet of Phillips, it was used for many years, unofficially up to 1913, as a common lodging house. Although aware of its existence, the police turned a blind eye because they admitted in 1911, although very old it was always clean and well kept.

Walter Drury was a drayman for the Diamond Brewery for fourteen years before starting here in 1908. He made his arrangements with the gods in 1915, shortly after the closure. That was in 1911, when it was declared surplus to requirements and compensation of £467 was made to the brewer and £70 to Drury. It was fully licensed and a public and a private bar were available. It continued as "Ye Olde Eight Bells Lodging House" well into the thirties.

Another with the sign had previously traded from Townwall Street, later becoming the "The Granville Hotel" and others were kept by Jones in 1791 and Wyndham 1805. I have no addresses.

The above photo was taken looking into New Street from the junction of Cannon Street and Biggin Street, close to the church of St Mary the Virgin.

New Street opens up into a road of more usual dimensions after the Metropole Hotel trade entrance and a bit further along lies another of Dover's tourist attractions, the "Roman Painted House":

...Built about A.D. 200 the Roman Painted House formed part of a large mansion or official hotel, for travellers crossing the English Channel. It stood outside the great naval fort of the Classis Britannica, but in A.D. 270 it was demolished by the Roman army during the construction of a larger fort. Three of its main rooms were then buried substantially intact under its ramparts.

The burial by the Army resulted in the unique survival of over 400 sq. ft. of painted plaster, the most extensive ever found north of the Alps (abridged from

From The Street Names of Dover:

New Street - This rather uninspired name was given to the street about 1785 when houses were built upon it. Previously it had the much more intriguing name appellation “Turne-Againe Lane.” Both New Street and York Street were very ancient thoroughfares. Turne-Againe Lane is first mentioned on the endorsement of a document of 1540 but it probably existed before that as a connection between the Priory and the Kings Highway.

[1] From Wikipedia's entry for Mackeson Stout:

The beer was originally brewed in Hythe, Kent, by Mackeson's Brewery in 1907.

Whitbread acquired the brand in the 1920s and gave it national distribution, eventually turning it into the market leader for a low abv (alcohol by volume) sweet dark beer.

The 1950s produced one of the most memorable and long-lasting television advertising catch-phrases with actor Bernard Miles [2] informing viewers that Mackeson "'looks good, tastes good and, by golly, it does you good."

The advertisement was first broadcast in 1958 and if, like me, you can remember it then perhaps you might like to hear a .wav audio recording of Bernard Miles saying his lines.

[2] From Radio and Television Personalities:

(Sir, later Lord) Bernard Miles, 1907 - 1991

Well-known character actor on stage, films, radio and TV who first broadcast in 1935. TV debut in 'Mixed Bull' in 1946. Founded his own theatre, The Mermaid in 1951. Also appeared in TV commercials for Mackeson stout.

This is the Images of Dover website.

Nawitka on March 28, 2009

Very nice golden glow on the wall, and an intriguing photo John!

John Latter on March 29, 2009

Nawitka said:

Very nice golden glow on the wall, and an intriguing photo John!

Thank you, Nawitka - it's about the only 'intriguing' photo I've taken! (although some people have been interested in the photos I've labeled - somewhat tongue in cheek - 'ghosts; and then there's the mystery of the 'empty coffin', of course).

John / Jorolat

John Latter on August 28, 2009

I went back to New Street a couple of weeks after the above photo was taken and can confirm that the 'golden wall' effect is caused by sunlight being reflected off of unseen windows on the right-hand side.

John Latter / Jorolat

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John Latter on March 12, 2010

It was very sad news to hear that John Allister passed away just before Christmas, 2009.

John Latter on January 13, 2011

The above photo was taken from where Biggin Gate used to stand in the Medieval Town Walls.

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on March 22, 2009
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by John Latter
    • Camera: PENTAX Corporation PENTAX K100D
    • Taken on 2009/03/22 22:31:03
    • Exposure: 0.006s (1/180)
    • Focal Length: 33.00mm
    • F/Stop: f/8.000
    • ISO Speed: ISO200
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • No flash