Winchelsea Quarry Fire from Mote's Bulwark of Henry VIII, Dover, Kent, UK

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John Latter on August 11, 2011

Dense black smoke from the fire at PPR WIPAG (1) drifting across Dover as seen from the A20 Townwall Street bypass below Mote’s Bulwark (2) at 7.36 am on Sunday, 7th of August, 2011.

PPR WIPAG are based in the Winchelsea Quarry area of Dover, about 1800 yards away.

Entry in the Kent Fire and Rescue Service incident list (3):

Date: 07/08/2011 (7th of August)

Time: 07.10 am

Stop Time: (not updated)

Title: Fire at Dover plastics unit

Location: Dover

Attendance: Dover, Canterbury, Folkestone, Whitfield

Details: Four fire crews from Dover, Folkestone, Canterbury and Whitfield have been tackling a fire at PPR Wipag Limited, Winchelsea Works, Winchelsea Road, Dover, this morning. The call came in at 07.09 to the fire at the Dover plastics recycling centre. The fire was in a unit 10x50m and spread to outside plastics storage units.

At the height of the fire there were clouds of black smoke and emergency services at the scene went out to reassure residents and encourage them to keep their windows closed.

Firefighters have now contained the fire to outside storage units and three jets are being used to damp down the scene.

A BBC news report stated (4):

Firefighters have been tackling a blaze at an industrial unit and storage container at a disused chalk quarry.

Residents said they awoke on Sunday to see billowing black smoke coming from the fire in Winchelsea Street, Dover.

Kent Fire and Rescue Service said emergency services were alerted at 07:09 BST and arrived to find the single-storey building well alight.

At its height, about 25 firefighters were in attendance. Crews remain at the scene to damp down the area.

(1) PPR WIPAG

Company info:

PPR Wipag Limited, Winchelsea Works, Winchelsea Road, Dover, Kent CT17 9SS, England; Telephone: +44(0)1304 219555, Fax: +44(0)1304 219666, Email: info@pprwipag.com

PPR WIPAG, based in Dover, Kent, specialises in automotive plastic recycling. In 1995 PPR WIPAG successfully developed the technique of separating the materials of a three-layered car instrument panel. Through a series of reprocessing stages it produces a recycled raw material to make a product of exactly the same specification as the one used in the original. This material is then re-used in the manufacture of original parts.

Since developing these processes PPR WIPAG has been successfully closing the recycling loop by reprocessing many tonnes of production waste each week. All of this material would previously have gone into landfill. Having overcome a sceptical market PPR WIPAG is now processing material from European plastic component manufacturers.

The company is ISO 9001:2008 accredited and is working towards ISO 14001 accreditation.

(2) The Mote's Bulwark

The Gatehouse of the Mote’s Bulwark, situated on the White Ciffs of Dover below the Western Outer Curtain Wall of Dover Castle is half-way down the right-hand edge of the photo.

In a posthumous account published in 1801 (A Journey from London to the Isle of Wight: Volume I, London to Dover), the Welsh naturalist and antiquary Thomas Pennant describes how King Edward IV's expenditure of ten thousand pounds in improvements to Dover Castle led to a belief that no further defences were needed on the seaward side above the cliffs at East Cliff. He then goes on to say:

King Henry VIII was of a different opinion; possibly to guard against a surprise by sea, he built at the foot of the cliff on the shore one of the many little castles he erected in the year 1539, it was called the Mote's Bulwark, and remains garrisoned.

(The "long s", or "f", has been replaced with the letter s)

Originally Tudor, the "little castle" of Mote's Bulwark (alt. Moat's Bulwark) has been extensively modified over the years and the ruins now consist of a lower level semi-circular battery built of squared rubble with a revetted (ie faced with masonry) parapet, built just above sea-level, and an upper terrace set part-way up the cliff-side containing the West Gatehouse (or Guardroom) shown in the photo.

This British Army Royal Artillery (Coastal Artillery) installation is reminiscent of the hidden Court’s Folly (Dover's "Lost Castle") across the River Dour valley on the Western Heights cliffs.

English Heritage Pastscape entry for Moat's Bulwark

(TR 32534152) Ruin (NAT)

TR 326415 Mote's Bulwark

Mote's or Moat's Bulwark was one of the forts built during the reign of Henry VIII. It is situated at the foot of the cliff below Dover Castle. A semi-circular battery built of squared rubble with a revetted parapet. On a terrace above are the ruins of a guardroom, probably 17th century.

Additional reference.

In 1539-40 King Henry VIII built three artillery fortifications at Dover to protect the newly constructed harbour. One of these, Moats's Bulwark, was situated at the foot of the cliff beneath Dover Castle, and provided additional protection to its southern flank. A 16th century plan depicts it as a timber revetted platform approached by tunnels in the cliff, although it was remodelled as a large semi-circular battery in around 1750, and in 1856 linked with the castle by a spiral stairway tunnelled into the cliff (Guildford Shaft). Scheduled.

(3) Kent Fire Brigade

Previous quote taken from the Kent Fire and Rescue Service incident list.

Also:

"Kent Fire and Rescue Service is responsible for delivering fire and rescue services to more than 1.7 million people in Kent.

With 66 fire stations and 1,700 operational members of staff, Kent Fire and Rescue Service has a fleet of more than 120 fire engines and other operational vehicles, including pumps, pump rescue ladders and turntable ladders.

Every year firefighters deal with around 20,000 incidents. These include over 1,200 road traffic collisions, around 900 house fires, nearly 200 animal rescues and over 150 flooding incidents, making Kent one of the busiest fire and rescue services in the country.

Kent Fire and Rescue Service has a proud history and heritage, dating back to the early 20th century.

It was in 1948, in the aftermath of World War II, when Kent Fire Brigade was officially formed by a merger between the County of Kent and the City and County Borough of Canterbury fire brigades, that the seed of the service as it is known today came into being.

The brigade took over 79 fire stations from the National Fire Service, and managed them until 1974 when local government reorganisation saw further changes to the way the brigade was deployed. (Source: Kent Fire and Rescue Service)"

(4) News Reports of the Winchelsea Quarry Fire

BBC News:

Smoke billows across Dover from fire at quarry

Kent Online:

Fire crews tackle plastic centre blaze

Hawkinge Gazette and Channel Coast News:

Firefighters tackle plastics storage unit blaze in Dover

Other Dover Fires

St. Columba Church on Fire, High Street, Dover, September 2007 (1 of 5 photos)

Westmount College on Fire, Folkestone Road, Dover, September 2007 (1 photo)

Elsewhere in the photo

The shot was taken from the central reservation of the A20 Townwall Street dual carraigeway. Townwall Street continues to the York Street Roundabout where the A20 becomes Snargate Street and eventually leaves Dover behind Shakespeare Cliff (of King Lear fame). The A20 dual carraigeway begins at Dover's Eastern Docks.

At the end of the visible section of Townwall Street is Dover Sports Centre (Dover Sports Center) with the rear of the Premier Inn of Marine Court (Marine Parade) on the left.

The two triangular structures below Mote’s Bulwark (near the centre of the right-hand edge, in case you skipped the earlier entry) are part of the same building. During the 1960's it was an British Army Recruiting Office where I and Kerry Manning signed up after leaving the Dover Grammar School for Boys (DGSB) and joining the Army Apprentices College in Harrogate (AAC Harrogate), North Yorkshire.

Charles Lightoller, second mate (second officer) on board the RMS Titanic, and the most senior officer to survive the 1912 iceberg disaster, once lived in Dover when he was stationed here during the the First World War as a member of the Dover Patrol (Royal Navy). Lightoller’s house at 8 East Cliff is just behind the viewer.

Geology

The White Cliffs of Dover are composed mainly of soft, white chalk with a very fine-grained texture, composed primarily of coccoliths. Flint and quartz are also found in the chalk.

The Winchelsea Quarry Fire was an added bit of excitement while on my morning cycle ride along the seafront (two laps of Robsons Yard - Eastern Docks - Prince of Wales Pier - Robsons Yard.)

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.

JBTHEMILKER on August 20, 2011

Can't you tell us anything about where the smoke might be coming from?

John Latter on August 21, 2011

JBTHEMILKER, on Saturday, August 20th, 2011, said:

Can't you tell us anything about where the smoke might be coming from?

It tells you in the first comment, JB:

Four fire crews from Dover, Folkestone, Canterbury and Whitfield have been tackling a fire at PPR Wipag Limited, Winchelsea Works, Winchelsea Road, Dover, this morning. The call came in at 07.09 to the fire at the Dover plastics recycling centre. The fire was in a unit 10x50m and spread to outside plastics storage units.

At the height of the fire there were clouds of black smoke and emergency services at the scene went out to reassure residents and encourage them to keep their windows closed.

Firefighters have now contained the fire to outside storage units and three jets are being used to damp down the scene.

Anthony Ciantar on September 11, 2011

I have seen this a few times, never given it much tought, been past it thousands of times as I worked in the Eastern Docks for some 16 years.

When I had my old 35mm I did think of trying to take some photos of it, but could not see how to get at it, this would have been around 1988

John Latter on September 12, 2011

Anthony Ciantar, on September 11th, 2011, said:

I have seen this a few times, never given it much tought, been past it thousands of times as I worked in the Eastern Docks for some 16 years.

When I had my old 35mm I did think of trying to take some photos of it, but could not see how to get at it, this would have been around 1988

To get in, you have to accidentally climb over the gate shown at bottom-left in this Mote’s Bulwark photo, walk to a low adjoining wall on the left-hand side of the bulwark's outer wall, and then accidentally climb over the top into the bulwark.

Anthony Ciantar on September 16, 2011

I like it. think I would be worried I would get shouted at.

John Latter on September 17, 2011

Anthony Ciantar, on September 16th, 2011, said:

I like it. think I would be worried I would get shouted at.

That certainly can happen, Anthony - though I'm thinking of out-of-bounds places in Dover Castle, rather than Mote's Bulwark.

Still, I'm only 60 so there's plenty of time yet for me to start behaving responsibly :)

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on August 10, 2011
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by John Latter
    • Camera: PENTAX Corporation PENTAX K100D
    • Taken on 2011/08/07 07:36:07
    • Exposure: 0.003s (1/320)
    • Focal Length: 45.00mm
    • F/Stop: f/10.000
    • ISO Speed: ISO200
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • No flash

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