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Castlemount was built in 1876 by Mr W J Adcock for Mr  Robert Chignell, to accommodate the school he had originally  opened on the site of Dover College.  The house was a  substantial mansion with many gables, built of red brick with  stone embellishments.  The main entrance to the property  was from Laureston Place.  After the house was completed, Mr Chignell had the grounds  terraced, with lawns and the perimeter planted with trees,  and in a few years the barren hillside assumed a park-like  appearance.  On certain days during the summer Mr Chignell  opened his grounds to the public, and it was the public  appreciation of this privilege that suggested the idea of  Connaught Park.  Mr Chignell eventually left Dover and by 1891 the  preparatory school for boys was being run by Reverend  Thomas Chirol.  In 1911, it was taken over by French monks  known as Les Frères des Ecoles Chrétiennes who came to  England because of an anti-clerical movement in France and  established it as a training centre for teachers. At the outbreak of the First World War the monks left Dover  and the house was commandeered by the military for use as  barracks.  In December 1914 the building had a narrow  escape as the first bomb dropped from and aeroplane on the  United Kingdom fell barely a yard from the perimeter wall.   The monks returned after the war and it was from this time  that the ghost stories began. It is said the school was  haunted by a ghost known as the Black Monk. The monks left  Dover for the last time on the outbreak of the Second World  War.  In 1940 the RAF took over Castlemount as the HQ for a  barrage balloon squadron.   After the war the building was taken over by Kent Education  Committee and turned into the mixed secondary school which  opened in 1948. The school was enlarged in the mid 1960s  when much needed additional accommodation was added.   In June 1973 the main building (the original 1876 house) was  devastated by fire, believed to be arson. The school  continued in temporary classrooms on the site and rebuilding  was completed in 1977.   Castlemount was closed in June 1991, with most pupils  transferring to Astor School.  Plans for the use of the old  school, including the boys and girls grammar schools  combining on the site, came to nothing. The buildings were  demolished and the site re-developed with houses now  known as Monastery Avenue.
Castlemount, 1876. Original architect's impression of the building. Castlemount c.1930. Castlemount June 1973.  The aftermath of the fire. Back to Buildings Index