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Dover: Lock and Key of the Kingdom


Anglo-Saxon Buckland   There was certainly a settlement in the vicinity of Buckland in  Anglo-Saxon times as a large cemetery has been discovered in  the area. The first burials came to light during the building of  the Dover to Deal railway line about 1880. Between 1951 and  1953 a large cemetery was excavated on the site of what is  now Napier Road and Hobart Crescent, and 170 graves dating  from c. AD 475 - 750 were recorded. In 1994 a further  cemetery was discovered below Hobart Crescent, on the other  side of the railway line. This cemetery, presumably part of the  same one excavated in the 1950s, yielded over 200 more  graves. The overall cemetery, in use for perhaps nearly three  centuries, probably contained around 500 individual graves.   No traces of the settlement which the cemetery served have  been found in the area. The most likely spot is in the valley  below, near the river Dour and beside the old Roman road to  Canterbury.  The settlement was perhaps near the site of the  present St Andrew's church. The church itself was founded at a much later date and the people buried in the cemetery  essentially belong to the pre-Christian era. Based on other  Anglo-Saxon sites which have been excavated, it is likely that  the village would have consisted of simple timber-framed  houses and out buildings, with thatched roofs. There were  probably also workshops which produced the tools, weapons  and ornaments found in the graves. In AD 762 the first written record of a Dover corn mill was  made. This mill, probably at Buckland, was also the first  recorded mill in Britain.   The Domesday Book - Buckland in 1086  The settlement is mentioned in the Domesday Book, the survey  ordered by William the Conqueror and carried out in 1086. The  survey lists the then owners of the properties and the pre  conquest Saxon owners (in the time of King Edward - i.e. King  Edward the Confessor, reigned 1042-1066). The entry for  Buckland (Bochelande) reads:   "In Bochelande Alwin holds one sulung. He has six villagers  and ten smallholders with one and a half ploughs. In total,  value £4; in the time of King Edward, 100 shillings. He held it  himself in prebend."   "In Bocheland Godric holds one sulung. He has 2 ploughs in  lordship and three villagers and four smallholders with one  plough. A church. Value £6; in the time of King Edward, £8."  (Notes: prebend - a stipend granted to a priest of a cathedral  or collegiate church, usually consisting of the revenues of one  of the manors in the estates belonging to that cathedral or  church; sulung a word only used in entries for Kent and  believed to mean the area of land which could be worked by  one plough team in a year).     So in 1086 there were at least 23 people living in Buckland,  probably a scattering of dwellings around the ford across the  river Dour.  The Domesday Book only listed the working men  and it must be assumed that at least some of the 23 had  families.   Buckland Bridge   The bridge over the Dour was not built until the late 18th  century, until this time the river had been crossed by a ford at  the same point.  Before the bridge was built the main road  from Dover to Canterbury and London ran the other side of the  river, along what are now Buckland Avenue, Barton Road, Frith  Road, Charlton Green and Maison Dieu Road. After the  construction of the bridge it became possible to use the more  direct route into the town the road becoming known as London  Road. Buckland Pubs   The ancient inn, the 'Bull', by Buckland Bridge, is right in the  centre of old Buckland. It had been known as the 'Rose' and  the 'Three Horse Shoes' prior to 1839. Further up the London  Road is the pub called the 'Old Endeavour'. The prefix "Old"  was originally intended to distinguish it from the 'New  Endeavour' which used to stand a little higher up the road. The  name of this old inn was suggested by a privateer, called the  'Endeavour' fitted out at Dover in 1746. The 'Gate Inn' on  Crabble Hill used to stand by the old Toll Gate at the start of  the Turnpike to Canterbury. The Tollgate was removed in 1871  and the pub is now a Chinese takeaway. Nineteenth Century Growth   Until 1801 Buckland was separated from Dover by open  country. Yet within 20 years they were connected by a  continuous string of properties along the main road to London,  stretching from the Maison Dieu to Buckland Bridge. In 1836  Buckland was incorporated into the Borough of Dover. The  growth can be seen from the population figures in the Census. As the population grew the village started to expand out from  its old centre around the bridge and the houses on London  Road. In the 1860s the area around Union Road (now Coombe  Valley Road) started to develop with housing to accommodate  workers at the new gas works. Magdala Road was built in 1868  by a Mr Edward Fry. Oswald Road and Eric Road were laid out  in 1871. In the early 1890s Buckland Avenue and the roads  leading off it were constructed. There was also industrial development in Buckland during the  19th century with Buckland Paper Mill, the new gas works,  Buckland Brewery, Wellington Brewery and Mannering's Corn  Mill (at the corner of London Road and Lorne Road).   The Union Workhouse and Buckland Hospital   Early in the 18th century the poor of the town were cared for in several Poorhouses, administered by Parish Overseers by order  of the Mayor. These eventually came together under the Dover  Poor Law Union which was formed in 1835, and, in 1836 a  Union Workhouse was built in Buckland Bottom, the old name  for the area now known as Coombe Valley. The workhouse was  enlarged almost immediately it was opened in 1836, and again  in 1849, 1871, 1897 and 1903. The road leading to the  workhouse was called Union Road (now Coombe Valley Road).  In 1930 the care of the poor in Dover passed to the Kent  County Council, and the growing powers of the Public  Assistance Committee of KCC gradually relieved the workhouse  of its former cares. When the Second World War broke out in 1939 the buildings  became a Casualty Hospital, dealing with hundreds of patients  of various nationalities from local air-raid victims to German  prisoners whose planes had been shot down or whose ships  had been sunk. There were frequently men in the wards unable  to speak a word of English who were nursed back to health by  Dover nurses. Dr Gertrude Toland was one of the heroines of  that time, working long hours without rest, often continuing  with operations during air-raids. In February 1943 the hospital  was taken over by the Public Health department of KCC and  was then called the County Hospital. In 1946 the National Health Services Act brought the hospital  under the control of the newly created NHS.  Gradually services were transferred to Buckland Hospital from the old Royal  Victoria Hospital in the town centre. In 2015 a new building  was opened and the old buildings demolished for housing  development.   Buckland School  The first National Parochial School opened in 1839 in a room in  the Master's House in Church Close , which was situated on  what is now the western end of the churchyard. In 1842 it  moved to new, larger premises, and again in 1856. In 1858 it  was decided to build a new school and a site on London Road  was obtained, and the foundation stone was laid on 24  February 1859. During the excavation for the foundations of  the new school a quantity of Roman pottery was found. The bell for the new school came from the sailing ship 'Earl of Eglinton',  which was wrecked off St Margaret's Bay in 1860. When she  was salvaged the bell was purchased for a few shillings by the  Church Managers and was hung outside the school soon after it opened. The school closed in 1968. The Gas Works   In 1864 the Dover Gas Company, finding that their works in  Trevanion Street were too cramped to meet the demands of the town, obtained an Act of Parliament, enabling them to raise  further capital, and to build new gas works in Buckland Bottom.  The permission was granted on the condition that gas  production in Trevanion Street was abandoned within seven  years. In less time than that, the manufacture of gas was  altogether transferred to the new works in Union Road.  The  gas works were enlarged a number of times to cope with  increasing demand for gas from the growing town. The gas  works closed in the early 1970s with the conversion to natural  gas, when coal gas production ceased. All that now remains is  one gasometer used for the storage of natural gas. Buckland Today   Today Buckland is largely residential. The population of  Buckland was greatly increased after the Second World War by  the building of the large Buckland Estate housing development.  While the old industries have gone, there is some commercial  development in the Poulton Close Industrial Estate.
The boundary marker between Buckland and Charlton c.1910. This was on London Road close to Beaconsfield Road. The roof in the top left-hand corner is the back of London Road Methodist Church. Buckland Bridge c.1900. Buckland Bridge c.1903. A photo from a much quieter age - it would be very dangerous to try and recreate this scene today. Buckland Bridge 1935. The bridge has always been a traffic bottleneck.  At least today's drivers don't have trams to contend with. Buckland Bridge and "The Bull" 1839. Buckland Avenue c.1910. Apart from the lack of traffic, the view is almost unchanged today. Buckland Union Workhouse c.1930. Buckland School c.1960. Dover Gas Works, 1955.
Buckland Census Figures  1801 - 346 1861 - 2,162 1811 - 584 1871 - 2,612 1821 - 693 1881 - 3,281 1831 - 834 1891 - 4,344 1841 - 1,472 1901 - 8,211 1851 - 1,895 1911 - 10,256 By 1911 the population growth that had started in  the 19th Century was largely complete.   The next major growth took place after the  Second World War when Buckland Estate was  developed. 
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