Saturday, June 30, 2012

Dover, England - May 19, 2012

We had visited Dover several times in the fifties - one of our cycling haunts. We have also visited from cruise ships and various RV vacations. We did need can English version of an English-French dictionary however and also a pot of beautifying potion for Marian that had been confiscated at Fort Wayne Airport a couple of weeks earlier. Thus we took a walk into town on a warm and sunny Saturday morning.
A visit to W H Smith and then to Boots drugstore met our shopping needs after which we sought out a Fish and Chip emporium. Found one - it was awful! Nothing much else to report so here, in case you ever find yourself in this town, is a note about Dover Castle.
Dover Castle is the largest castle in England and is a medieval castle founded in the 12th century. It is sometimes referred to as the "Key to England" due to its strategic defensive location atop the cliffs at the narrowest part of the English Channel.
Earlier, there might have been an earthworks fortification here and certainly, after the coming of the Romans in 43 CE the location was extensively developed. One of the 80 foot high Pharoses - Roman lighthouses - still stands at the site.
During the reign of Henry II the castle began to take on the shape seen today with Maurice the Engineer being responsible for building the keep, one of the last rectangular keeps ever built.
By the Tudor age, the original defences had been obsoleted by gunpowder and armaments development and they were substantially updated during the reign of Henry VIII. Further massive rebuilding took place at the end of the 18th century at the time of the Napoleonic Wars and it was during this period that the tunnel system was developed. By 1803 2,000 troops could be housed 40 or 50 feet below the cliff top.
At the beginning of the WWII in 1939 the tunnels were reopened following a century of abandonment and were used for a variety of purposes throughout the remainder of that conflict. A few images are here.

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