Join Us

Got something to say ? Text, call or email,  Please get in touch

In order to visit us

Nigel Scutt


Tel or Txt:





Or use our contact form.

Independent shipping news, photography and more from the Dover Strait.
Independent shipping news, photography and more from the Dover Strait.

Features: Scroll down for a more in depth look....



Collective Spirit

Pump House, Watch House, Customs House!

Number 6 berth ramp lift 2013

A Bronze Age Replica

Allely's Heavy Haulage hits the road!

Dover's Spanish Prince

Saga Ruby bows out in style

The mystery of the James Fairburn crane

The SS Falcon

Dover T2 The next generation

Collective Spirit

Collective Spirit passes the Saga Ruby on her departure in 2012.

Collective Spirit is no ordinary yacht!

When two artists known as "Lone Twin" first came up with the idea, they scoured the Hampshire area for wooden donations to be used in the construction of a unique project. The criteria for inclusion in the build was that all the items had to be made from wood and also have a story attached to them. Accordingly the finished craft includes a hairbrush used by a make-up artist from Pinewood Studios, crates used to transport gold to Canada from Britain during the Second World War, a Victorian police truncheon, a section of Brighton's historic West Pier, more than one hockey stick and a plank from the London 2012 Velodrome. Even the tiller incorporates an item associated with Jimi Hendrix!

During Collective Spirit's two month voyage along the south coast she called at Dover and in doing so, generated quite a lot of interest. Described as a "floating collage of memories" the Boat Project was funded by the Arts Council England's Artists.


More information at

Collective Spirit in the Tidal Basin.

Pump House, Watch House, Custom House!

Customs Watch House constructed in 1909 and designed by Arthur Beresford Pite.

MATERIALS: Rough-tooled snecked ragstone with a base of coursed rough-faced granite blocks and dressed granite details. Cast iron casement windows and slate roof, with copper dome.

PLAN: Rectangular plan. Two storeys with four rooms off a corridor on each floor, and second floor belvedere. Central stair, two stacks to the south.

EXTERIOR: The building is in the Arts and Crafts style. The principal elevation is to the north, overlooking the entrance into the inner harbour. There are gable end parapets to the east and west. The central bay of the north elevation is defined by a broad, central gabled entrance bay with a canted oriel window with three six-paned lights, above which is the royal coat of arms carved in relief from stone blocks . The oriel is surmounted by an octagonal lantern with a domed copper roof. The stepped and heavily moulded base of the oriel forms the head of the deep door surround of the principal entrance. The double entrance doors are half-panelled with semicircular lights forming a complete roundel when closed. Keyed oculi flank the entrance door. The right-hand bay comprises keyed oculi to ground and first floor, the left-hand bay comprises a keyed oculus to first floor and a keyed Venetian window to ground floor. The east elevation comprises a pair of two-light mullioned windows with semi-circular keyed relieving arches at first floor, and a single keyed Venetian window to the ground floor. The first floor corners are chamfered with a rectangular light in each diagonal face. The south elevation has two irregular external stacks; one single, to the west, and one double, to the east. The east stack is pierced with a two-light mullioned window at ground and first floor. Between the stacks are four three-light mullioned windows, two at ground floor, two at first. There is a central keyed oculus. The west elevation comprises keyed oculus over two two-light mullioned windows. The building retains much of its original fabric, the only notable exception being the weather vane on the domed lantern roof.

INTERIOR: Internal layout largely unaltered, much of the modest joinery remains. Fireplaces have generally been removed. Central open-well stair with painted metal stick balusters and metal handrail. Dog-leg stair to lantern with timber stick balusters and square newel posts with ball finials.

HISTORY: Dover's original Customs House was on Custom House Quay, to the north west of Granville Dock. The date of this building is not known but it is identified on Ordnance Survey maps between 1866 and 1907. By 1937 the building had gone, but the name Custom House Quay survived.

It is likely that the original customs house was lost shortly after 1907, as the design for the new Customs Watch House is dated 1909.

During both the First and Second World Wars, the Port of Dover was under the control of the Navy and was the base for the Dover Patrol; a fleet of about 40 warships, motor boats and fishing vessels which kept control of the English Channel.

When the Second World War ended, the Navy was quick to relinquish its responsibility for the port, and had moved out by November 1946. The post-war period saw the Western Docks respond and adapt to the increasing demand for cross-channel services and changes in commercial shipping. With the Granville and Wellington Docks becoming too small to accommodate modern commercial shipping, this steadily gave way to marinas and leisure use, meaning the need for the Customs Watch House fell away. The Customs Watch House is now used as offices for an aggregates company based on the South Pier.

The Customs building was designed by Arthur Beresford Pite (1861-1934), architect and educator and son of the architect Alfred Robert Pite (1832-1911). Pite's architectural training was undertaken at University College and the Architectural Association in London. His accomplished Gothic design for a West End club house, for which in 1882 he won the Soane medallion of the Royal Institute of British Architects, brought him to the notice of the architectural profession at an early age. Between 1883 and 1897 Pite worked in the office of the London architect John Belcher, through whom he became involved with the Art-Workers' Guild (founded in 1884), later becoming its master. After 1900 much of Pite's time was spent teaching, becoming the first professor of architecture at the newly formed Royal College of Art. He also became architectural director of the School of Building in Brixton, a pioneering educational project which brought together architects, artists and builders, and from 1909 to 1931, was a member of the University of Cambridge Board of Architectural Studies.

The security that teaching offered allowed Pite to choose his projects carefully. He worked on an eclectic variety of building types and was regarded as experimental and avant-garde by his contemporaries. In comparison to other projects Pite was undertaking at this point in his career, such as Christ Church, Brixton (1907, listed Grade II*), and the massive London, Edinburgh and Glasgow insurance offices on Euston Square (1906-8), the building considered by many to be Pite's masterpiece, the Customs Watch House would have been a rather modest commission. However, he often chose projects which provided opportunities to establish new models for particular building types.

In his design for the Customs Watch House, Pite discarded convention to create an eclectic and idiosyncratic building. Dating from the most creative phase of Pite's career it is testament to his diverse and unconventional body of work.

A Stuart Gray, "Edwardian Architecture" (1985), p 285-289
English Heritage, "Dover Harbour, Notes on Historical and Engineering Interest" (2008)
"Dover Terminal 2 Historic Environment Baseline Report", Maritime Archaeology Ltd (2008)
Architectural drawings 7230, 1790, 1818, Dover Harbour Board Drawing Office
B Hanson (ed), The Golden City: essays on the architecture and imagination of Beresford Pite (1993)

Reasons for Designation
The Customs Watch House at the Western Docks, Dover is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* It is an unusual, and architecturally distinguished, largely unaltered C20 reinterpretation of a key maritime building type.
* The building strongly reflects the innovative and avant-garde work of its architect, Arthur Beresford Pite.
* Group value within the Dover Harbour context with a number of designated assets.

Number 6 Berth ramp lift 2013.

All images courtesy of TDZ Photography. Visit the Gallery at the White Horse Public House, St James Street, Dover for more stunning images of wldlife, architecture and the world around us, where framed photographs of a range of images are available for purchase.

Investment in port facilities and associated infrastructure is an ongoing process. One example of this was the recent refurbishment and renewal of Number 6 Berth and the linkspan/ramp assembly at the port's Eastern Docks, which was completed in 2013. TDZ Photography captured these striking images of the ramp lift towards the end of the project. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I will leave you with Tony's superb images.

The refurbished ramp on the hoverpad before lifting.
Floating cranes GPS Atlas and GPS Apollo worked in tandem to lift, transport and site the ramp assembly.
Safely transported across the harbour, the ramp is carefully lowered into position.

A Bronze Age Replica.

Allely's Heavy Haulage hits the road!

After several days delay, the much awaited abnormal load movement finally left the Western Docks, a little before 09:00 on Saturday 14th December 2013. was out with the camera and followed events closely as the load made it's way via York Street, Folkestone Road, on to Capel-le-Ferne, descending Folkestone Hill and on to the M20 at junction 13, Folkestone. Much of our footage was shot on a commission basis for corporate use, but here is some we can share.

So, in pictures then.........

The transformer arrives at the Port of Kings and is unloaded prior to it's onward journey.
In the Western Docks Freight Park, prior to departure. Photo courtesy of Phil Medgett.
The load. The transformer for Sellindge Converter Station.
A minor problem just minutes into the journey. A slight hitch at the exit on to Union Street roundabout is rapidly overcome.
A long day awaits. On the A20 Townwall Street. Going east on the westbound carriageway...
Inch perfect, as the load does the York Street Shuffle!
Traversing Folkestone Road with not much room to spare! Photo courtesy of Mr Andrew Stucken.
Another tight squeeze as the load eases it's way through Capel-le-Ferne.
A legend in his own lunchtime! A quick bite to eat then onwards (sorry, couldn't resist that one!)
Five hours in and perhaps the trickiest section of all. The slow descent of Folkestone Hill.
Safely at the bottom, the tyres take the strain as the roundabout is negotiated.
Round and onto Hill Road in Folkestone

Some facts.....


Although the transformer was built at the Alstom facility in Stafford, it was transported by ship to Dover as it was too large to travel entirely by road.


The 113000 volt transformer weighs 315 tonnes.


The entire load weighs 640 tonnes,  is almost 100 metres long, the main trailer being 75 metres long and 5.4 metres wide.


The unit had a total of 256 wheels.


The transformer travels cryogenically, the windings inside surrounded by nitrogen gas and has shock and impact recording sensors to ensure the load is kept stable and undamaged. Hydraulic rams on the trailer are used to achieve this.


It was the second largest load ever to be transported on the UK road network.


Allelys transport built the trailer in the freight park, Dover Western Docks, prior to loading the transformer.


The load required four rear tractor units to control the descent of Folkestone Hill.


For much of the journey the maximum speed was walking pace, increasing to 12 to 15 mph on the M20.


 Because of it's length, the load had to take the longer route and leave the M20 at junction 9, rejoin the M20 at the same junction and travel south-eastbound back to junction 10 before finally making it's way to Sellindge.


From start to finish, the journey took around 12 hours.


Dover's Spanish Prince

In both the First and Second World Wars, Dover Harbour was always at risk of possible attack by German submarines prowling in the English Channel. The Spanish Prince was one of four vessels used as blockships. Together with the War Sepoy, Minnie de Larrinaga and the Livonian, the Spanish Prince was scuttled as part of an overall plan to protect the port. The vessel was purchased by the Admiralty and scuttled in 1917 to protect the western entrance to the port. She had a tangle of netting supported by gantries that had been added to her decks prior to her scuttling.

And there she lay, relatively undisturbed until 2010 when it was deemed necessary to remove the remains of the wreck as larger cruise ships and ferries were using the port. Herbosch Kiere Marine Contractors Limited were awarded the contract to remove the wreck using specalised cutting and lifting machinery. The recovered steel was then transferred to the Jetfoil Basin for subsequent removal. Today you will often see the Port of Dover's dredger the David Church dredging the area to ensure the charted depth is maintained at 8.5 metres as the port grows ever busier.

Seen from Langdon Cliffs, removal of the wreck continues during the summer of 2010
One of the giant "pincers" used to shear through the remains of the wreck.
Herbosch Kier barge Waasland with the Saga Ruby in the background.
Another grab full of wreckage comes to the surface.

Right: A side scan sonar image of the Spanish Prince before removal.


A final farewell. Photo courtesy of TDZ Photography

Saga Ruby's final farewell. At a little after 16:00 on Thursday 26th September Ruby left Dover Cruise Terminal for the last time. After spending the day alongside with her fleet mate Saga Sapphire, she turned gracefully before both vessels saluted each other and their respective masters waved goodbye from their bridge. Escorted by both Dover tugs, she slowly exited the Western entrance with water spouting high into the air from the tugs in a final tribute to Ruby's forty years service. We were out on the water to see it and what a privilege it was to be there. More images are coming soon from the library of professional photographer, Tony Zammit. Also along for the trip were good friends Dick, Richie and new part time skipper Hannah !!


Thanks everyone, wouldn't have missed it for the world.




Saga Ruby passes her fleet mate Saga Sapphire as she clears the Prince of Wales pier. Photo courtesy of TDZ Photography
Hannah takes the helm.... (Photo Richie Borle)
Two classy ladies in one shot, Richie your'e photographic abilities know no bounds! (Photo Richie Borle)
Viewed from the Entice wheelhouse, Saga Ruby starts her final departure. (Photo Richie Borle)

 The Mystery of the James Fairbairn Crane, Esplanade Quay.

There is more than meets the eye to this Victorian example of industrial heritage......


Situated on the southern side of the Esplanade Quay adjacent to the Wellington Dock you can find the James Fairbairn swan-necked crane of riveted box frame construction. It was built by the Fairbairn Engineering Company of Manchester in 1868. There is some debate as to whether this is a small hand driven crane or a decommissioned steam driven crane. This area was originally the Ordnance Quay and it would appear that the crane was once used by the Ordnance Department and was originally capable of lifting some fifty tons but was lated de-rated to just twenty tons. What is surprising is the fact that approximately one third of this structure is situated below ground. The crane is a Grade II listed structure and together with Cullins Slip, various cleats and mooring rings is a reminder of Dover's shipbuilding, ship breaking and trading past.

Builder's Plate
The rack and pinion slewing gear assembly

The SS Falcon

The steamer Falcon was owned by the General Steam Navigation Company and was wrecked just Northeast of Dover in 1926. She was carrying a general cargo which included hemp and also matches. The cargo caught fire and she grounded whilst still ablaze. The remains of the wreck can still be seen from the cliiffs, but it is now difficult to access the beach where she lays.

DOVER T2 The Next Generation...

ABOVE: How the proposed T2 development might look upon completion

Dover Harbour Board proposals have long been in place for the development of the Western Docks Ferry Terminal 2 or T2. Current ferry operations are centred on the Eastern Docks with cruise operations located at the Western Docks. T2 is an ambitious project which aims to provided a sustainable ferry operation well into the future. With new ferry berths, refridgerated cargo facilities, new marina  and improved road access and layout, it does perhaps demonstrate DHB's commitment to providing superior facilities for port users.

With recent DHB executive staff changes and more apparently on the way plus the People's Port option, whether it will ever come to fruition is a matter for some debate. What we can be sure of is that the development will no doubt be pushed through at all costs and those of us who use the port on a daily basis can probably look forward to ten years of traffic chaos, disruption and misery. One only has to experience the traffic problems in London Road as the A2 Jubilee Way is resurfaced to get some idea of what it will be like. It is a matter of personal opinion as to whether it is really necessary given the fact that there are alternatives, particularly for road freight, which would make all our everyday lives safer.


Dover Harbour Board have produced a very informative brochure detailing the proposed development, which is available from their Corporate Communications Office, Harbour House.


Alternatively, more details may be found at

Print Print | Sitemap
© Dover Marina