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The Tonkin Liu Artworks or Sculptures at Sunrise, Dover Seafront, Kent, UK

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John Latter on September 6, 2011

An early morning view, best seen in a larger size, of the western end of Dover beach and seafront promenade taken at 6.36 am on Monday, 29th of August, 2011 (1).

The Marine Parade and Georgian Waterloo Crescent are out-of-shot to the right.

The main features in the photo are:

Dunkirk War Memorial

Right-of-centre in the foreground is the side of the Dunkirk War Memorial. The front panel, or plaque, depicts a battle scene showing a British Army soldier carrying a wounded comrade towards a small rowing boat below which is inscribed:

Dunkirk Veterans Association East Kent. This memorial was erected on the 16th August 1975, the 35th anniversary of the battle of Dunkirk. During the period May 10th to 1st June 1940 202,306 British, British Commonwealth and allied troops were evacuated to Dover. The memorial not only pays tribute to the bravery and discipline of the servicemen, but to the courage of the crews of the armada of little ships which assisted, and the people of the port of Dover who received them.

The Dunkirk Veterans Association "was one of the first ex-Service organisations to be formed from personnel who served in the Forces of the Crown during the Second World War; it was founded at Leeds in 1953 and registered as a War Charity, and its Central Benevolent Fund is registered with the Charity Commission."

The front panel is shown in At the Going Down of the Sun..., Dunkirk War Memorial, Dover Seafront.

A statue of Admiral Sir Bertram Home Ramsay, KCB KBE MVO (2), Royal Navy co-ordinator of the Dunkirk evacuation (Operation Dynamo), stands in the grounds of Dover Castle near the edge of the White Cliffs of Dover, overlooking the harbour.

Other Dover photos relating to Dunkirk include:

Cliff Casemates Balcony, Secret Wartime Tunnels Entrance, Dover Castle

The Admiralty Lookout and Port War Signal Station, Dover Castle

LCU Mark 10 Royal Marines/Royal Navy Landing Craft, Dover Harbour

F235 HMS Monmouth prior to 70th Anniversary of Dunkirk, Admiralty Pier, Dover Harbour

See all Dover Memorial and Dover Second World War photos.

The Tonkin Liu Artworks, or Sculptures

On the pebble-strewn beach to the left of the Dunkirk memorial is a meandering pathway, part of three artworks called "Lifting Wave, Resting Wave, and Lighting Wave" designed by London-based architects, Tonkin Liu and officially opened in 2010.

Parts of the other two elements are further along the promenade to the right of the memorial, the whole being described in a 2010 Dover District Council and Kent County Council newsletter (3) as follows:

The Lifting Wave is a series of sculptural ramps and stairs that rise and fall to connect the beach to the Esplanade.

The Resting Wave is a sculptural retaining wall that provides sheltered spaces with weathered oak benches.

The Light Wave is a sculptural line of white columns ("light towers") bringing improved lighting and safety. The lighting can be controlled to create a dynamic wave movement.

A fuller description can be found on this Architecture Today webpage which states:

Lifting Wave, Resting Wave, Lighting Wave harnesses the architectural language of Doverʼs identity, evoking the gentle nature of waves on the sheltered beach, the rhythmical sweep of the Georgian seafront terrace and the topography of the White Cliffs.

The design has won an award from the Royal Institute of British Architecture (RIBA):

The Dover seafront has been transformed by artworks that take the form of three waves gently washing up against the sheltered beach. The Lifting wave is a repeating form of curving white concrete ramps and staircases that rise and fall to connect the Esplanade to the lower shingle beach. The Resting wave is a second sculptural white concrete wall made up of a series of moulded curves. The recesses house oak benches, the promontories raised lawns. The third wave is the Lighting wave. The lighting columns rise and fall like froth on the bubbling crest of a wave.

These deceptively effortless interventions lend this shore line path a true sense of place and of fun.

The West Promenade Kiosk

At the far end of the Lifting Wave is the art deco-styled West Promenade Kiosk, identified by the red "Wall's" ice-cream sign below the grey roof.

The low wall to the left of the building encloses a seating area, more visible in the "aerial" Panorama of the Clock Tower and Beach from Dover Castle photo.

The East Promenade Kiosk (photo not yet available) is behind the viewer.

Dover Sea Sports Centre and Beach Restaurant

The building with the sloping roofs (apparently rooves is an older version of the word) behind the kiosk is the Dover Sea Sports Centre and Beach Restaurant.

The racks at the base of the centre contain canoes (or kayaks) with small sailing dinghies and surfing boards blocked from view by the kiosk.

A Dover District Council webpage states:

Located on the seafront in Dover Harbour, this brand new facility managed by Vista Leisure not only offers spectacular views from the relaxing cafe/bar area, but first class waters sports activities, from sailing to windsurfing to kayaking and open water swimming.

Architect: Simons Design Ltd. Contractor: Jenner (Contractors) Ltd. Developed by Dover Sea Sports Centre Trust

Close-up views:

Dover Sea Sports Centre and Beach Restaurant from the South

Dover Sea Sports Centre and Beach Restaurant from the East

The Clock Tower

The Clock Tower near the left-hand edge of the photo is a Dover Listed Building located at the landward end of the Prince of Wales Pier. Nearby, but masked by the Sea Sports Centre, are Sue’s Seafood Stall and the King Charles II Commemorative Walk Memorial.

This Victorian structure, built in 1876-1877 to the designs of George Devey (architect, 1820-1886), was renovated in 2010. However, the flagpole flying the Union Jack flag (the Union Flag) and topped by a weather vane wasn't restored until sometime after the Victorian Clock Tower and Old Lifeboat Station at Sunrise, Dover Seafront photo was taken in April, 2011.

The building at the base of the Clock Tower on the left was once Dover's first lifeboat station. The current Lifeboat Station is located on Crosswall Quay, along with the RNLB 17-09 City of London II lifeboat.

The building to the left of the Clock Tower contains showers, wash-rooms, and a launderette for the use of people with yachts and boats berthed in Dover Marina.

Also see Dover Clock Tower, First Lifeboat Station, and Lord Warden House

There's also a 2007 Clock Tower photo.


Above the Dunkirk Memorial, and extending to the right, are the Tidal Harbour (and Tug Haven), the non-tidal Granville Dock, and the non-tidal Wellington Dock (with its swan-necked Fairbairn Crane).

Geology (4)

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.


(1) The photo was taken during my early morning cycle ride: two laps of Robsons Yard - Eastern Docks - Prince of Wales Pier - Robsons Yard.

(2) Other recent photos of Admiral Sir Bertram Home Ramsay's statue and surrounding area:

The Stone Map and Statue of Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay,Dover Castle (side view)

Statue of Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay and The StoneMap, Dover Castle (front view)

(3) Dover District Council and Kent County Council @ your service ISSUE 39 SPRING/SUMMER 2010: "The Newsletter for Dover District residents incorporating Kent County Council’s Around Kent pages."

(4) Wikipedia entry for Pebble

Click to see all Dover Beach, Harbour, and Seafront photos on this website.

This Dover Panorama photo also appears in the Dover Harbour set on Flickr.

John Latter / Jorolat

Dover Blog: The Psychology of a Small Town

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

John Latter on October 7, 2012

Also see the nearby "standing stones" of Dover seafront:

On the Crest of a Wave Artwork at Sunrise

On the Crest of a Wave Artwork at Sunset

Artworks are currently categorized under the Statue tag.

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on September 4, 2011
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by John Latter
    • Camera: PENTAX Corporation PENTAX K100D
    • Taken on 2011/08/29 06:36:29
    • Exposure: 0.004s (1/250)
    • Focal Length: 43.00mm
    • F/Stop: f/9.000
    • ISO Speed: ISO200
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • No flash