Charles Dickens and Pilot's Meadow, Adrian Street, Dover, Kent, United Kingdom

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John Latter on April 19, 2009

On the lower slopes of the Western Heights in Dover, Kent, lie the Pilot's Meadow allotments [1]. This particular view of part of the allotments was taken from half-way up Adrian Street [2].

A few yards to the left (south) of the green fence in the bottom left-hand corner are the cliffs above Snargate Street. The cliffs and the allotments veer away to the left from the line of the road (behind the foreground trees). If the view were uninterrupted you might just be able to see the overgrown East Tower of Dover's 'Lost Castle', the Court's Folly, located on the cliff-edge on an approximate level with the tree-line above the allotments. [An interior shot of the East Tower]

To the right of the lamp-post at the top of Adrian Street are wide steps leading up to a Second World War installation of which only the large rectangular base remains. The base is completely overgrown with vegetation (mostly jabbing, stabbing, prickly stuff) and its longer side follows the cliff edge.

The right-hand (northern) boundary of the Pilot's Meadow allotments is marked by a pathway leading to the bottom of the "64 Steps". At the top of the steps, another pathway continues up the Western Heights to arrive at the south-eastern entrance of the embedded Drop Redoubt, once part of Dover's Napoleonic defenses and now an English Heritage site.

On the other side of the pathway leading to the bottom of the 64 Steps is Cowgate Cemetery (now a nature reserve) with its mysterious empty vault.

From the Dover: Indian Mutiny, Charles Dickens, Roman Empire photo:

On the left of the above photograph is an end view of Camden Crescent where Charles Dickens stayed for three months in 1852. It was here that he continued to write "Bleak House" (which he had begun in Tavistock House in London). A Dover - Lock and Key of the Kingdom webpage states:

He is said to have frequented the Pilot Field, the high ground behind Snargate Street, lying on his back in the sun, planning his work.

Pilot Field is more properly known as "Pilot's Meadow" and has certainly changed since Victorian times as it is now a collection of allotments at the top of Adrian Street, close to Cowgate Cemetery.

Also, the western end of Pilot's Meadow is literally only yards from Dover's 'Lost Castle' of the Court's Folly, which today is completetly hidden by undergrowth on the cliffs of the Western Heights.

Since putting photos and a video slideshow of the Court's Folly (youtube, google) on the internet in June, 2007, probably more people outside of Dover have heard of this miniature castle than those who live in it. In 1852 the Court's Folly would still have been both visible and accessible and I quite like the idea of having played as a child where Charles Dickens must surely have walked as a man.

Charles Dickens visited Dover on a number of occasions and the town featured in some of his works. For example, in the 'Comment' to the The Market Square and Castle Street photo, it says:

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].

[1] Just to be clear: the meadow's name reflects an association with sea-pilots.

[2] From The Street Names of Dover:

Adrian Street - Once named Upwall or Above-Wall, the latter name being used in the Vestry books of St. Mary’s church as far back as 1639. It was probably because the Street was formed on ground on the hill above a wall, which had been built to strengthen the face of the cliff just below; this wall was exposed to view when some Snargate Street premises were being altered; or the name may have been given it because the street was above the wall of the ancient Town, parts of the old wall being from time to time exposed to view, and showing those of this generation where the boundary of their Town was. The hill was re-named Adrian Street to mark the spot where once stood Adrian Gate, one of the many gates of the town. How Adrian Gate got it’s name is not easy to answer. It is certainly not an indication as some have asserted that the Romans built the walls. The gate was built at the same time as Snar Gate in 1370.

The top of Adrian Street turns right and leads into Adrian Row (old photo).

The photo on this web-page was taken on Sunday, 29nd of March, 2009, at 9.15 am.

This is the Images of Dover website.

Draken on May 10, 2009

John

Thank you very much for the information and the links.

This is a perfect example of how a lot of links don't constitute spam when they are beneficial and related to the photo subject.

John Latter on May 11, 2009

Draken88 said:

John

Thank you very much for the information and the links.

This is a perfect example of how a lot of links don't constitute spam when they are beneficial and related to the photo subject.

Thank you very much, Draken :)

It had never occurred to me that the links I give might be considered as spam.

All I've tried to do is provide a photo with enough of a background description that will enable visitors to 'follow up' on if they wish.

John Latter / Jorolat

Draken on May 11, 2009

I don't know from where you got the 88 but it is OK. ;-)

John Latter on May 11, 2009

Draken said:

I don't know from where you got the 88 but it is OK.

Oops, I meant to put two asterisks either side of your name, but must have missed the shift key - sorry!

John Latter on May 11, 2009

Bruce da Moose said:

John, I agree with our friend Draken - this is an excellent example of presentation, links and all, and should be encouraged on Panoramio. It increases the value of a visit to the page tremendously

Thank you very much, Bruce :)

John Latter on December 12, 2009

John Latter, on April 19, 2009, said:

The right-hand (northern) boundary of the Pilot's Meadow allotments is marked by a pathway leading to the bottom of the "64 Steps".

See the 64 Steps from the Lower Path photo.

John Latter / Jorolat

Dover Blog: The Psychology of a Small Town

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

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on April 3, 2009
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by John Latter
    • Camera: PENTAX Corporation PENTAX K100D
    • Taken on 2009/03/29 09:15:33
    • Exposure: 0.008s (1/125)
    • Focal Length: 55.00mm
    • F/Stop: f/8.000
    • ISO Speed: ISO200
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • No flash

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