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Image:  The Lord Warden Hotel in the 1930s.
The Lord Warden Hotel in the 1930s.

The Lord Warden Hotel was opened by the South Eastern Railway in September 1853. It was built next door to the Town Station , to which it was connected by a glazed walkway at first floor level. It was ideally placed for the cross channel traveller right by the Admiralty Pier, where the cross-Channel steamers berthed.

The hotel attracted a clientele from the rich and famous en route to and from the Continent. Charles Dickens was a guest as was William Makepeace Thackeray. In March 1871 the deposed Emperor Napoleon III of France arrived to be reunited with his wife Eugenie here. Between the First and Second World Wars the hotel still attracted a well-heeled travelling clientele. The hotelís celebrated ballroom was much used by local organisations for annual dinners, dances and other events.

During the Second World War it was taken over by the Royal Navy and known as HMS Wasp. It was the headquarters for the Coastal Force, made up of motor torpedo boats, motor gun boats and air-sea rescue craft. This was where the crews were billeted and the signals section, plotting rooms and offices were located. The craft themselves were based in the Ferry Dock and the Camber area of the Harbour.

After the war the building was taken over as offices by the Southern Region of British Rail and renamed Southern House. It was later used by HM Customs and Excise before being purchased for use as offices by the shipping line, Stena. In 1999 it was bought by the Dover Harbour Board and refurbished for use by freight agents in conjunction with new Customs clearance facilities being built nearby. The building was also renamed Lord Warden House at the same time.

 

Image:  The Lord Warden's dining room at the time of opening.
The Lord Warden's dining room at the time of opening.

Image:  Reception of Emperor Napoleon III of France and Empress Eugenie at the Lord Warden Hotel, 16 April 1855.
Reception of Emperor Napoleon III of France and Empress Eugenie at the Lord Warden Hotel, 16 April 1855.


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