Golden Sunrise Panorama of Victorian Waterloo Crescent, Dover Harbour, Kent, UK

Selected for Google Maps and Google Earth

Comments (12)

John Latter on August 24, 2011

An early morning view of the Victorian (1) Waterloo Crescent on Dover's seafront esplanade, opposite the western end of the beach and harbour, taken at 6.11 am on Tuesday, 16th of August, 2011.

This is not an "HDR" photo and is best seen in a larger size (also see Panorama of Waterloo Crescent from the Prince of Wales Pier.)

As is sometimes the case when out and about on my morning cycle ride (2), transitory light conditions can transform familiar sights into something extraordinary. On this occasion, the entire sky was clouded over with the exception of a ragged oval across which the rising sun was slowly moving. The resulting "golden glow" reflecting off of Waterloo Crescent - and every other white object - was really quite breath-taking in its intensity (note how the Western Heights trees in the background on the right are still in shadow - its as if a gigantic torchbeam were being played across the landscape.)

I took three photos of the scene over a period of thirty seconds during which time the sky lightened and the golden glow faded. This is the first photo taken, the least "technically correct", but selected anyway to reflect the confusion of the moment: my mind was in a rush to be elsewhere (a planned detour to a hidden and difficult-to-access location, once of huge significance in Dover's past, and of which no internet pictures appear to exist) while another part of me was saying, "Never mind that, its only responding to the 'here and now', that's important!"

(Links to photos of the 'mystery location' will be added once they've been uploaded)

Waterloo Crescent, built between 1834 and1838, is a Dover Listed Building consisting of three sections. From left to right these are the western section (originally 5 houses), the central section (originally 19 houses), and the eastern section (also originally 5 houses). Because this is an oblique view, the divisions between the overlapping sections are perhaps easiest identified by looking at the side view of the roof on the right-hand section and then looking for two other occurrences of the same "truncated pyramid" shape further to the left.

Western Section

This is now the location of Dover Harbour Board's "Harbour House" (where you can pick up information about the cruise ships that berth at the Admiralty Pier in the Western Docks).

A Victorian resident of this block is mentioned in an 1870-1873 Society of Antiquaries of London journal (3):

The Rev. F. J. RAWLINS, F.S.A. exhibited, by the kind permission of Lieutenant-Colonel C. J. Cox, of 29, Waterloo Crescent, Dover, some human bones and flint chips found in a tumulus (4) near Walmer, Kent.

This tumulus (Lieut.-Col. Cox reports) is situated on the elevated downs between Dover and Walmer, near St. Margaret's Bay, and about half a mile distant from the tumuli recently opened by C. H. Woodruff, Esq. It measured about 24 feet in diameter, and 2 feet in height at the centre.

Centre Section

The main part of Waterloo Crescent is perhaps best known for once being the "White Cliffs Hotel", after which it became the "Churchill Hotel" until early in 2010 (BBC News: Churchill Hotel closes). It is now the "Dover Marina Hotel" and opened as such in early 2011 (also see Best Western Dover Marina Hotel and Spa).

Apparently, Sir Winston Churchill visted the White Cliffs Hotel during his time as Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports (1941-1965). One of his equally well-known war-time colleagues also dined there:

Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was a five-star general in the United States Army and the 34th President of the United States from 1953 until 1961; he was also the last American president to be born in the 19th century. During World War II, Ike served as Supreme Commander of the Allied forces in Europe, with responsibility for planning and supervising the successful invasion of France and Germany in 1944–1945. (5)

Operation Fortitude was the codename for the deception operations used by the Allied forces during World War II in connection with the Normandy landings (Operation Overlord: June 6th, 1944). It was divided into Fortitude North, a threat to invade Norway, and Fortitude South, designed to induce the Germans to believe that the main invasion of France would occur in the Pas de Calais rather than Normandy. (6)

Fortitude was one of the most successful deception operations of the war and arguably the most important. Both Fortitude North and Fortitude South were related to a wider deception plan called Operation Bodyguard. (6)

As part of Operation Fortitude, General Eisenhower made an appearance at the White Cliffs Hotel (7):

At Dover, across from the Pas de Calais, the British built a phony oil dock. They used film and theater (theatre) stagehands. The King (George VI) inspected it. Eisenhower gave a speech to the "construction" workers at a dinner party held at the White Cliffs Hotel in Dover. The Mayor made satisfied remarks about the "opening of a new installation" in town.

The RAF maintained constant fighter patrols; German reconnaissance aircraft were permitted to fly overhead, but only after they had been forced to 33,000 feet, where their cameras would not be able to pick out any defects in the dock. Dover resembled an enormous film lot.

The right-hand end of the centre section was once the Shalimar Hotel.

Eastern Section

House numbers numbers 4 and 5 are home to the Royal Cinque Ports Yacht Club:

RCPYC is one of the oldest yacht clubs in England, and is active in all sailing activities. The cruising and racing programme offers visitors and newcomers to participate by arrangement.

Elsewhere in the photo

The Marine Parade in front of Waterloo Crescent runs from the Clock Tower (out-of-shot to the left), past various statues in front of the Gateway Flats (out-of-shot to the right) before joining the A20 Townwall Street dual carraigeway just below Henry VIII's coastal artillery fort of the Mote’s Bulwark; the A20 then passes Charles Lightoller's old home at 8 East Cliff ("Lights" was second officer on the RMS Titanic in 1912) to end at the entrance to the Eastern Docks (where the cross-channel ferries berth).

On the left of the photo are various structures of the three artworks called "Lifting Wave, Resting Wave, and Lighting Wave", designed by London-based architects, Tonkin Liu, and officially opened in 2010.

A pay-per-view "Talking Telescope", a Union Jack flag, the red-housing of a lifebuoy (alt. ring buoy, lifering, lifesaver, life preserver or lifebelt, also known as a "kisby ring" or "perry buoy"!), sundry sailing dinghies drawn up on the pebbles, and the "On the Crest of a Wave" sculpture by Ray Smith (1996):

Portland stone, green Kirkstone. Commissioned by the Dover Harbour Board, Dover, Kent. Rouse Kent Public Art Award for 1995-6.

The houses behind and to the right of Waterloo Crescent are part of Cambridge Terrace that runs behind Waterloo Crescent as Cambridge Road.

Related Photos

Other photos taken under interesting light conditions include:

The Second World War Dragon’s Teeth of Dover Beach at Sunrise

MS Saga Ruby Cruise Ship and a God of the Night, Dover Harbour

Panorama of Dover Harbour, Seafront and Eastern Docks at Sunset

Waterloo Crescent is a Grade II Listed Building (8).

The following is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence (PSI licence number C2010002016):

Building Details:

Building Name: 1-30

Parish: DOVER

District: DOVER

County: KENT

Postcode: CT16 1LA


LBS Number: 177820

Grade: II

Date Listed: 30/06/1949

Date Delisted:

NGR: TR3207341174

Listing Text:



1050 Nos 1 to 30 (consec)

TR 3241 1/2 30.6.49.

TR 3141 2/2

TR 34 SW 7/2



Built in 1834-8 by Philip Hardwick (9). 3 sections, the centre one containing 19 houses, the outside ones 5 houses each. 5 storeys and basement with area. 3 windows to each house.

Stuccoed with rusticated ground floor. Round-headed windows on the ground floor and round-headed doorways. Continuous iron balconies on the 1st floor supported on thin iron columns from the ground floor and with continuous hood over. (This balcony has been replaced by a glazed veranda with balcony over it on No 16). The end houses of each section have curved fronts.

These end houses and the 9 centre houses of the main section have Corinthian pilasters from the 1st to 2nd floor supporting tile entablature (which is continued along the houses without pilasters) and above this a stucco-fronted 3rd floor with round-headed windows, plain pilasters between them, cornice and parapet above with mansarded roof containing the attic storey.

The other houses have no stucco above the entablature, but 2 storeys arranged in a double mansard, the upper one set back and both fronted with slates, Most glazing bars missing. Entrances at the rear.

Nos 1 to 30 (consecutively) Waterloo Crescent form a group.

Listing NGR: TR3207341174

Source: English Heritage.

(1) Or Georgian:

Georgian architecture is the name given in most English-speaking countries to the set of architectural styles current between 1720 and 1840. It is eponymous for the first four British monarchs of the House of Hanover - George I of Great Britain, George II of Great Britain, George III of the United Kingdom, and George IV of the United Kingdom - who reigned in continuous succession from August 1714 to June 1830. (Wikipedia)

(2) Two laps of Robsons Yard - Eastern Docks - Prince of Wales Pier - Robsons Yard.

(3) "Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of London" November 17th, 1870, to April 3, 1873, Second Series, Volume 5.

(4) Extract from Tumulus:

A tumulus (plural tumuli) is a mound of earth and stones raised over a grave or graves. Tumuli are also known as barrows, burial mounds, Hügelgrab or kurgans, and can be found throughout much of the world.

In Britain, barrows of a wide range of types were in widespread use for burying the dead from the late Neolithic until the end of the Bronze Age, 2900-800BC.

(5) Dwight D. Eisenhower

(6) Operation Fortitude

(7) Extract from "Ike’s spies: Eisenhower and the espionage establishment", by Stephen E. Ambrose and Richard H. Immerman (first published 1981)

(8) Grade II: buildings that are "nationally important and of special interest".

(9) Presumably, this Philip Hardwick

Click to see photos of Listed Buildings and English Heritage locations in the town of Dover, England.

An Urban Dover and Dover panorama photo.

A Dover Seafront and Beach history location.

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 September 11, 2011


A pebble is a clast of rock with a particle size of 4 to 64 millimetres based on the Krumbein phi scale of sedimentology. Pebbles are generally considered to be larger than granules (2 to 4 millimetres diameter) and smaller than cobbles (64 to 256 millimetres diameter). A rock made predominantly of pebbles is termed a conglomerate. Pebble tools are among the earliest known man-made artifacts, dating from the Palaeolithic period of human history.

A beach composed chiefly of surface pebbles is commonly termed a shingle beach. This type of beach has armoring characteristics with respect to wave erosion, as well as ecological niches which can provide habitat for animals and plants. (Wikipedia entry for Pebble)

Mircea_RAICU on September 15, 2011

Nice light , like and vote !

John Latter on September 15, 2011

Mircea_RAICU, on September 15th, 2011, said:

Nice light , like and vote !

Thank you, Mircea - Greetings from Dover, England :)

lizab on November 10, 2012

Beautiful place and excellent light, i liked!!

Sign up to comment. Sign in if you already did it.

Photo details

  • Uploaded on August 18, 2011
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by John Latter
    • Camera: PENTAX Corporation PENTAX K100D
    • Taken on 2011/08/16 06:11:51
    • Exposure: 0.006s (1/160)
    • Focal Length: 38.00mm
    • F/Stop: f/7.100
    • ISO Speed: ISO200
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • No flash