The White Cliffs

  White Cliffs

White Cliffs of Dover

ANTEDILUVIAN MONSTER EXPOSED: “A mass of chalk of several thousand tons weight, detached itself from Shakespeare Cliff at Dover a few days ago. Fortunately, no one was near the spot at the moment of its fall. The vertebrae of some antediluvian monster has been exposed in the cliff, which will afford a rich subject for geological investigation”
(Kentish Gazette 5 February 1839 p.3 col.1)

“SHAKESPEARE SLIPPING” Shakespeare’s Cliff: This cliff has suffered from another of those falls which, since the time of our honoured bard, has lessened its altitude. Early on Monday morning last a surface of chalk 254 feet in height, extending to a length of 353 ft on the eastern face, 15 ft thick, measuring 47,131 yards and supposed to contain about 48,000 tons of chalk, scaled off and fell to the base; from a fog at the time the slip was not seen but the noise of the fall was heard at a long distance. This recent fall will doubtless repay the search of the geologist. A smaller fall of about 10,000 cu.yds has since occurred.
(Kentish Gazette 9 March 1847 back page col.2)
AN EXTENSIVE SLIP has occurred at Shakespeare’s Cliff which seems to be gradually breaking up its establishment and leaving England in disgust. This may be in consequence of the little hold Shakespeare has lately had upon his native country; and the cliff, probably is only crossing the Channel to seek a home in more congenial lands. Wither will it go to ? Will it settle on the French coast or sail direct for New York? It would be curious to find Shakespeare’s cliff at Calais with a board stuck up “Removed from over the way”. We are confident that Shakespeare himself will be thought all the more of if he had a firm footing in France and that his drama and his cliff would rise much higher in the public estimation when pieces of it could be taken from the French (“Punch”)
(Kentish Gazette 23 March 1847 back page col.1)

From Thomas Pattenden’s Diary:
“Sat 16 Feb 1799 This week there was a very great fall of the cliff exact between the soldiers and the officers subterraneous barracks where the opening is between to give light to the Well it fell down quite from the top of the Cliff a very great way.
This day in the forenoon it was discovered that unknown to any person in the night, a bank of chalk and earth had fell down by the frost and thaw and filled one of the huts in the Castle, whereby an Artillery man and his wife were suffocated as they lay in bed, the infant child was preserved and taken out alive.
M 4 March 1799 This morning some of the Miners from the Works at the Castle began to trench at a part of the way down the Cliff before they begin to take down a part of the top of the Cliff exactly over the Waggon house which they have obtained leave from the Engineer to undertake. I am told they are to be paid Sixty pounds if they compleat it properly but this appears to be a very dangerous undertaking as the Cliff is very much cracked and broke at the bottom.
Sat 16 March 1799 This day a large piece of the cliff which the men are taking down fell and by the fall broke down part of the trench they had made.”

East Cliff houses on Dover seafront, possibly around 1870. A small mounted carte de visite sepia photograph on card with printed on the back “Photographed by W.H.Newell, 121 Snargate Street, Dover”. No printed title but, hand-written on the back is “Dover East Cliff”

Picture of making of “road” c.1905, down to Athol Terrace from the cliff top. This was to enable steam locomotives to transport chalk and ballast in connection with various harbour development schemes.
For example, the Eastern Docks area itself which was reclaimed from the sea and in connection with widening of the Admiralty Pier to build the Marine Station. Some of the materials came from Richborough by train for this work.