NAAFI, Regimental Institute and Hurst Tower, Knights Road, Dover Castle, Kent, UK

Selected for Google Maps and Google Earth

Comments (9)

John Latter on November 23, 2007

This Victorian structure located in the grounds of Dover Castle has been converted by English Heritage to house a "Naafi Restaurant" [1] in the southern half of the building (nearest the viewer) along with Queen Elizabeth's Pocket Pistol [2] and a remnant of a Barnes Wallis prototype 'Bouncing Bomb' [3] in the northern part. Hurst Tower [4] is visible on the west outer curtain wall on the left of the photo.

[1] Naafi stands for "Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes" and the restaurant seats 80 people with a children's menu"complete with high chairs". The main menu is themed on the food that was available to the local population during the Second World War (I didn't notice - I never saw anything beyond the cakes). There is access for wheelchairs.

[2] The photo, "Queen Elizabeth's Pocket Pistol, Dover Castle UK (1)", has the historical background information to this 'long gun' attached to it which has been summarized in the comment appended to, "Queen Elizabeth's Pocket Pistol, Dover Castle UK (2)". Part of this summary reads:

This is the second photo to be uploaded of a 16th Century 24-foot long 12 pounder basilisk cannon, nicknamed "Queen Elizabeth's Pocket Pistol". It is located in the NAAFI Restaurant building close to Canons' Gate in Dover Castle.

The gun was built in 1544 in Utrecht (Holland/Netherlands) by Jan Tolhuys. The 19th Century carriage, however, was made in 1827 by the Royal Carriage Department from cannon brought back from the Battle of Waterloo.

Despite this cannon being an easily accessible object nearly 500 years old there are remarkable discrepancies between the current internet and non-internet sources regarding its characteristics. These are presented in the first photo of Queen Elizabeth's Pocket Pistol and include what it's made of (bronze, brass), range of shot (1200 yards, 2000 yards, 7 miles, 21+ miles), size of shot (10 pounds, 12 pounds, 60 pounds), and much else besides!

[3] The photo, "The Barnes Wallis 'Bouncing Bomb' at Dover Castle (UK)", contains more information about the 'Bouncing Bomb' and the Dambusters Raid (led by Guy Gibson). A nearby plaque reads:

This is a prototype of the 'bouncing bomb' which was used in the famous Dambuster operation. This operation, which breached the Mohne Dam and Eder Dam in Western Germany, was carried out by No. 617 Squadron of the RAF on 16th May, 1943.

These special bouncing bombs resembled giant garden rollers and needed to spin away from the Lancaster aircraft, which were travelling at 220 mph at a height of 60 ft above ground.

This prototype was drop tested in April 1943 off Reculver beach, Kent and was rediscovered in June 1996.

[4] Hurst's Tower or Hirst's Tower

At present I do not have any close-ups of this tower but check later 'Comments' or the Tower tag in case I forget to come back here once the images are available.

From "The History of the Castle, Town and Port of Dover" by Reverend S. P. H. Statham, Rector of St Mary-in-the-Castle (ie St Mary-in-Castro) (Longmans, Green, and Co., 1899):

[Hirst Tower] was supported by the manor of Hirst, which appertained to the manor of Chilham, and John de Hirst seems to have held it on military tenure from one of the Lords of Dover. [page 266]

On page 287 of his book, Statham also mentions that Hirst's Tower was put "in order" in 1576 following the visit of Queen Elizabeth I in 1573.

snorth on November 23, 2007

Wow, Amazing detail for comments. John, I hope you can keep up that level of detail :o)

John Latter on November 23, 2007

snorth said:

Wow, Amazing detail for comments. John, I hope you can keep up that level of detail :o)

Thank you, snorth - I'll have to see how it goes!

Basically, I feel looking at an image that hasn't any commentary is like admiring a new car that lacks an engine, if you see what I mean.

On the other hand, it's possible to go to the other extreme!

I intend uploading many more photos of Dover Castle and adding comments will become easier because I'll be able to cut and paste snippets from earlier pics - as is the case with this particular photo.

On the third hand, I may just bin the lot and do something else :)

Wim de Vries on December 23, 2007

John Latter,

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year from Bonn

Kind regards, Wim

John Latter on December 23, 2007

Thank you, Evangelos and Wim - Happy Christmas to you, too!

John Latter on April 13, 2010

Click to see Hurst`s Tower from the Outer Moat Embankment and Hurst Tower from Knights Road.

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.

John Latter on November 21, 2010

The ex-Regimental Institute is a Grade II Listed Building (1).

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

Building Details:

Building Name: FORMER REGIMENTAL INSTITUTE Parish: DOVER District: DOVER County: KENT Postcode:


LBS Number: 469564 Grade: II Date Listed: 08/07/1998 Date Delisted: NGR: TR3253841699

Listing Text:

TR 3242 DOVER KNIGHT'S ROAD (north side), Dover Castle 685/1/10007 Former Regimental Institute


Regimental institute, now offices (2). Dated 1868, probably by G Arnold RE (Royal Engineeers), Clerk of Works (3); altered c1994. Polygonal rubble, dressings, external and ridge stacks and slate roof. Tudor Gothic Revival style. Single-depth axial plan.

EXTERIOR: single-storey; 4:3:3-window range. Central section set forward with roll-top copings to end gables with kneelers and dividing fire walls, first-floor drip, and flat-headed mullion windows with metal casements. Central section has right-hand 2-centre arched doorway with hood stops and boarded door, beneath a 2-centre arched cross window in a small gable, with 3 ground-floor and 2 first-floor windows and a small gable to the left. Right-hand section has central 3-light and flanking 2-light transom windows and a central small gable, and a right-hand return with a low basement doorway with small lights each side, 3-light mullion and transom windows, the first-floor one with cusped heads. Left-hand section has a right-hand 2-centre arched doorway and label mould beneath sunken quatrefoil panel, and 3-light transom windows; the left-hand return has a central external stack, inserted doorway to the front, and rear first-floor cross window. Rear has external stacks to left-hand section, and a short central wing with a cross gable.

INTERIOR: has an open well stair from the entrance with metal balusters, and large first-floor room to the right-hand section with an arch-braced roof.

HISTORY: In a similar style to the nearby Officers' Barracks (4) by Salvin. Institutes were introduced to provide improving pastimes in barracks and to reduce drinking. Used for education and training at the Castle garrison, and one of the oldest institutes in an English barracks.

Listing NGR: TR3253841699

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

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

(2) As stated in the first comment to this photo, this building now houses the Naafi Restaurant and Queen Elizabeth's Pocket Pistol.

(3) Historically the Clerk of the Works (CoW) was employed by the architect on behalf of a client, or by Local Authorities to oversee public works.

(4) There are currently three photos of the Officers New Barracks:

Main Entrance Steps to the Victorian Officers Mess

The West Wing Controversy, Officers New Barracks

The Victorian Officers Mess, Queen Elizabeth Road

John Latter / Jorolat

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

Photo taken in Dover Castle, Castle Hill, Dover, Kent CT16 1HU, UK
Dover Castle

Photo details

  • Uploaded on November 23, 2007
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by John Latter
    • Camera: PENTAX Corporation PENTAX K100D
    • Taken on 2007/10/19 11:08:21
    • Exposure: 0.004s (1/250)
    • Focal Length: 33.00mm
    • F/Stop: f/11.000
    • ISO Speed: ISO200
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • No flash