Wednesday, 28 September 2011

The Grand Shaft Underground Triple Stairway, Western Heights, Dover, Kent, UK

Looking up from the bottom of the Grand Shaft to the open sky above the Western Heights:

Bottom of the historic shaft showing windows of the 3 spiral stairways leading from the base of the White Cliffs on Snargate Street to the Western Heights at the top. Built by Colonel Twiss RE 1806-1809 during Napoleonic Wars.
(Click this Grand Shaft text link to see the largest size)

The Grand Shaft, part of Dover's "Forgotten Fortress", is built of brick and cast-iron and consists of three interleaved spiral stairways winding around an open shaft. It once linked the Grand Shaft Barracks (now demolished) on top of the White Cliffs of Dover to Snargate Street on the seafront below.

Two of the three staircases have their entrances within the shaft, the third entrance is at the beginning of the access tunnel leading to Snargate Street.

Dates vary a little, but the English Heritage Pastscape entry for the Grand Shaft states it was built between 1805 and 1807 as part of Dover's Napoleonic (and subsequently Victorian) defensive works on the Western Heights.

Legend has it that one staircase was labelled "Officers and their Ladies", the second, "Senior NCO's and their Wives", and the third, "Other Ranks and their Women".

The main photo first appeared at:

The Grand Shaft Underground Triple Stairway, Western Heights, Dover

To be uploaded:

The Grand Shaft and the Charge of the Light Brigade, Dover (the story of Charles Wooden, VC)

Looking into the Depths of The Grand Shaft, Western Heights, Dover

The Grand Shaft is a Dover Grade II Listed Building and an English Heritage Pastscape site (owned by Dover District Council).

A Napoleonic Wars and Victorian British Army photo of Dover's History.

A Dover Architecture photo.

Clickable thumbnails of all Western Heights-related photos on the main Panoramio Images of Dover website are available on this blog on the Western Heights Page (also linked to below the blog title).

The Panoramio photos are each accompanied by a Google Earth satellite map. However, the images are smaller than those on the Images of Dover Blog and the captions are less well formatted.

John Latter / Jorolat

Dover Blog: The Psychology of a Small Town

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