Witch's Hat Millenium Pavilion Bandstand, Pencester Gardens, Dover, UK

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John Latter on September 20, 2009

A view of The Witch's Hat (Millenium Pavilion) of Pencester Gardens, Dover, UK.

The photo was taken just after noon on Thursday, September 18th, 2009, while making my way from The Park Inn to the Market Square.

I took the shot mainly because my existing photo of the pavilion is two years old and from a time when I first began taking an interest in photography. I haven't learned much about the subject since, but I do have a better camera :)

Pencester Gardens are bordered to the north and north-east by the River Dour (which runs behind and to the left of the pavilion in the above photo) and to the south-west by a children's play area (including a popular bicycle/bike 'adventure training area' or "skate park"). To the south-east lies Stembrook and Castle Street. To the north-west is Pencester Road itself which was laid out in 1860.

Pencester Gardens hosts Fairs and other events throughout the year when the pavilion is often used as a bandstand.

A Timeline Pathway, in which the history of Dover is engraved in 100 flagstones, connects the pavilion to the other pathways at the centre of the park.

A Dover Town Council webpage (under 'History and Heritage') states:

"Pencester Gardens may never have been built if some of the proposed schemes for this area had come to fruition.

When Pencester Road was laid out in 1860, it was intended to build a street, to be called Neville Road, from Pencester Road to Eastbrook Place but this never happened. About 1880 the land was acquired with the intention of using it for a Dover station in connection with the Channel Tunnel, which was then being planned to run from St Margarets.

When that project failed it was suggested that it be used for building a new Town Hall but in the end facilities were improved at the Maison Dieu instead. Other plans included a recreation ground and a relief road to ease congestion in Biggin Street. In its later years the site was used as a timber yard.

In November 1922 the land was purchased by the Corporation and the new gardens were laid out. Pencester Gardens opened in 1924, as well as the usual lawns and flowerbed there as also a play area for children and a miniature golf course. The gardens have been a pleasant green space in the centre of the town since then, and have provided a venue for many fetes and funfairs.

In 2000 a pavilion for band concerts and other performances was built to commemorate the new Millennium."

Click to see a blurry still from the above-mentioned video showing the central section of Pencester Gardens. Click to see more photos of Pencester Gardens.

Dover in World War Two: 1942 (1) is a ten minute British Ministry of Information film, released by the US Office of War Information, and narrated by the American journalist, Edward R. Murrow.

The video contains a short clip of Pencester Gardens in which a local resident (accompanied by her father) is interviewed.

(1) 1) Original titles: Dover (1942) or Dover Front Line.

Pencester Gardens is the most central of Dover's major parks; Connaught Park, for example, is on the upper (but terraced) slopes of the Eastern Heights, just below Dover Castle.

John Latter / Jorolat

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John Latter on December 30, 2009
John Latter on December 7, 2010

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on September 20, 2009
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by John Latter
    • Camera: PENTAX Corporation PENTAX K100D
    • Taken on 2009/09/18 12:21:11
    • Exposure: 0.004s (1/250)
    • Focal Length: 35.00mm
    • F/Stop: f/10.000
    • ISO Speed: ISO200
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • No flash