Possibly Dover’s biggest ever fire, at the old Oil Mills in Limekiln Street, later the site of George Hammonds’ Shipping offices.
The blaze, with damage estimated at £1 million, broke out in May 1965, the alarm being raised by night watchman Peter Vickery, of Harold Street, at 4am. The fire appears to have quickly gained a hold and, for a time Peter was trapped about 50ft up in the building, the Dover Express reported, as flames estimated at a 100ft high shot into the sky. The building was a tinderbox, it was stated, with oil-soaked timbers of decades, having once been Dover Oil Crushing Co’s works back in the late 1800s and, later, a fur fabrics factory. Firemen were on the scene, it was reported, for about 40 hours, putting out the blaze which gutted the building and then damping down and keeping a watch for any new outbreaks from smouldering debris. During the Second World War it had been a temporary transit camp for troops on the move and also had a role in the running and maintenance of Motor Torpedo boats, Air Sea Rescue craft and Motor Gun Boats operating in the Channel.