© www.dover-kent.co.uk 2000 - 2016 
Home History Defence Transport Leisure Places People Words Information Contact
Dover: Lock and Key of the Kingdom

The Grand Hotel

In 1893, Wellesley Terrace, a block of houses built in 1846, was converted into the Grand Hotel. The hotel was in a lovely  location, at right angles to the Seafront on Wellesley Road,  overlooking the Granville Gardens and Camden Crescent. The  Rifles Monument was erected in 1861 as a memorial to the  men of the 60th Rifles killed in the Indian Mutiny of 1857.   On 11th September 1940 the hotel was badly damaged by a  bomb. Newspaper journalists had been staying at the hotel  since the Second World War began and some of them were  trapped in the wreckage. One reporter, Guy Murchie of the  Chicago Tribune, telephoned his story to his paper and it  appeared in the next day's edition: "I held my arms over my head instinctively. Everything went  black. I was fully conscious as the floor fell away under my  feet.... I expected to land on the next floor, but, to my  surprise, I kept falling for many seconds.... Then I landed....  Gradually the air grew lighter as the smoke and soot settled.  And I could see that I was tangled in a mass of timbers. The  remaining jagged walls towered upwards some 50 feet, and I  was acutely aware of the possibility of one of them falling on  me. I climbed out of the debris, elated to be alive." After the war the Grand Hotel Company wished to rebuild the  hotel.  In 1946 there was an inquiry led by the Ministry of Town and Country Planning after the owners appealed when the  Corporation refused to allow them to spend £38,000 on  restoration because it was in the way of their plan for a new  Seafront.  The hotel owners lost the appeal and their repeated  requests over the next three years were all refused. In 1949 the owners served notice on the Corporation requiring  the Corporation to purchase the premises under the provisions  of the Town and County Planning Act, 1917.  This request was  refused but eventually Dover Corporation paid £4,300 for the  hotel ruins.  In August 1951 the ruins were finally demolished.  
Grand Hotel c.1910.  Seen across the Granville Gardens , where a concert is underway on the bandstand. Grand Hotel c.1905. The Rifles Memorial can be seen in the foreground with Camden Crescent beyond it. Grand Hotel advert, 1913.  From Bradshaw's Continental Railway Guide, 1913. Grand Hotel ater 1940.  The damaged hotel was finally demolished in 1951. Grand Hotel, 1940.  The scene in Wellesley Road on 11th September 1940 when one end of the hotel was destroyed by a bomb.