Market Square and Castle Street, Dover, Kent, England, United Kingdom

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John Latter on April 4, 2009

Looking east across Dover's Market Square towards the entrance to Castle Street [1]. The photo was taken on Sunday, 22nd of March, 2009, at 9.30 am from in front of Dover Museum.

Left of centre is a mosaic cube which is used to cover the Market Square fountain during the winter months. This photo shows the fountain when it is working.

To the right of the base of the covered fountain is the long low structure of a horse trough that was once located at the junction of Folkestone Road (Maxton) and Elms Vale Road. See The Market Square and Cannon Street for the origin of the inscription on the horse trough.

To the left of the covered fountain, the 'Dickens Corner' tea-rooms and cafe are so named in order to continue the tradition begun by the bakers Igglesden and Graves who used to own the premises. They placed a plaque on the wall of the building to record that this is where "the Charles Dickens character David Copperfield is reputed to have sat on the steps while searching for the home of his Aunt Betsy Trotwood." [From Dover Past and Present].

In 1852, Charles Dickens lived in Camden Crescent for 3 months, which is about a 3 minute walk away if you leave the Market Square to the right in the above photo (going along King Street towards the seafront). More information is appended to the Dover: Indian Mutiny, Charles Dickens, Roman Empire and related Charles Dickens and Pilot's Meadow, Adrian Street photos.

Behind the viewer a short access road leads to Dover Public Library, part of the Discovery Centre. As you climb the steps to the library, the ruins of St. Martin-le-Grand church are on the right.

[1] Adapted from Streets of Dover:

Castle Street - It is quite surprising to find that no road or even lane existed here before 1830. The old route to the Castle and Deal was via St. James Street. Castle Street was mostly constructed between 1830 and 1835 but was not opened into the Market Square until 1837 after a Parliamentary Act had been granted to purchase the stables and yard of the City of Antwerp Hotel which barred the way.

The row of squat black flower tubs towards the lower right of the photograph delimit the outside seating area of 'The Ellie Cafe Bar' (also see pubs).

The central Keep of Dover Castle dominates the skyline below which the massive walls of the Inner Bailey disappear on the left behind the collection of towers that form Constable's Gate (alt. Constable's Gate or Gateway).

Standard Info:

The following paragraphs are taken from plaques located in the Market Square.

In ancient times the Market Square area stood at the mouth of the River Dour, then a wide tidal river. During the Roman period Dover (Portus Dubris) became an important port and garrison for the Roman fleet, known as Classis Britannica. The Romans built a fort below the Western Heights slopes, a little to the west of here, in the 2nd Century AD. In the late 3rd Century this was replaced by a larger garrison fort, built against Saxon invaders.

As the river began to silt up and more land was reclaimed, the old Roman quay and fort which the Romans had abandoned in the 5th Century fell into disuse. In the 7th Century Widred, King of Kent, built a Saxon church, dedicated to St Martin on the west side of the square. This was burnt down by William the Conqueror during his march from Hastings to London in 1066. The church was replaced by a much larger Monastery and Church built by Odo, the Constable of the Castle and Earl of Kent. St. Martin is the Patron Saint of Dover.

The Norman church of St. Martin-le-Grand was so large and important that it embraced three seperate parish churches within its walls. During Henry VIII's Reformation the church was closed and finally destroyed in 1535. Most of the remains were removed in 1892; the last remnants, demolished in 1955, were incorporated into the front wall of the bank [2] on the west side of the Square.

A fair or market has been held in the Market Square since at least 1160, the most important being the annual St Martin's Fair. Dover's Guildhall was built in the centre of the Square in 1605 on wooden pillars, replacing the old Market Cross. The Market was held beneath it. The Guildhall was used as a council chamber and a museum. It was demolished in 1861.

The old Market Hall, the facade of which still stands, was built in 1846 to provide a new Museum and covered market. The building was badly damaged by bombs and shells during the Second World War and was closed down, the museum moving to the Town Hall. The Market Hall building is on the site of the original Town Gaol built in 1746, rebuilt in 1820, and then moved to the Town Hall in 1834.

In the Market Place, Dover Corporation had its instruments of punishment and correction - the stocks, pillory and whipping post. It is recorded that in 1588 pick-pockets were taken to the Market Place, had one ear nailed to the pillory and a knife placed in their hand. The pick-pocket could then decide whether to stand and be jeered at, or to free himself by cutting off his ear.

Looking up Castle Street, you can see Victoria Park mansions below Dover Castle. This crescent of fine Victorian town-houses was built in 1834 as residences for "Military, Naval and Other Gentlemen". Castle Street itself was only begun in 1830 and not opened up into the Market Square until 1837.

[2] The National Westminster Bank (NatWest)

This is the Images of Dover website.

John Latter on October 28, 2009

John Latter said on April 4, 2009:

To the left of the covered fountain, the 'Dickens Corner' tea-rooms and cafe are so named in order to continue the tradition begun by the bakers Igglesden and Graves who used to own the premises.

Click to see a close-up of the cafe in the Dickens Corner Cafe, Ex-Dovorian Restaurant, Market Square photo.

John Latter / Jorolat

Dover Blog: The Psychology of a Small Town

This is the Images of Dover website: click on any blue "John Latter" link to access the Entry Page.

John Latter on December 9, 2012

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on March 26, 2009
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by John Latter
    • Camera: PENTAX Corporation PENTAX K100D
    • Taken on 2009/03/22 21:34:45
    • Exposure: 0.004s (1/250)
    • Focal Length: 31.00mm
    • F/Stop: f/9.500
    • ISO Speed: ISO200
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • No flash