Western Heights Defences, Dover, Kent

Western Heights Defences, Dover, Kent
Photograph taken 01 July 1994 © Historic England Archive Photo Library ref: K940480

Plans to fortify the hills above Dover were drawn up after war broke out with France in 1778. The Western Heights were first fortified circa 1779, with earthworks. In 1781 work was begun to replace them with permanent defences. The Grand Shaft was constructed between 1805 and 1807 and the Citadel and Drop Redoubt were built as separate forts. These were subsequently combined when lines were constructed to join them. Work stopped when the armistice was signed in 1814. By this time more than £200,000 had been spent on the vast network of fortifications here, that’s around £7 million in today’s money. The perceived threat to Britain posed by Napoleon III, Emperor of France, led in 1859 to further improvements. During the First World War the Heights were primarily used for barrack accommodation. Gun sites, pillboxes and blast shelters were added during the World War Two. The Army finally abandoned the area in stages between 1954 and 1961. This site is now in the care of English Heritage (2011). Read more.


Kent Dover


Georgian (1714 - 1836)


english heritage fort tower attack defence invasion french barracks military world war one (1914 - 1919) world war one first ww1 wwi second ww2 wwii