What is know generally as the Sea Front by the inhabitants
of Dover does in fact have four separate names for
its different stretches. Running from the Prince
of Wales Pier
to the Eastern
the sections are the Esplanade, Waterloo Crescent,
Marine Parade and East Cliff.
Prior to 1817 the site of the Sea Front was a ridge
of shingle which had begun to accumulate about 1500.
On this ridge was Dover’s original ropewalk, where
ships’ ropes were made. The area was also used as
a gathering ground for cobblestones, with which the
Town Commissioners of 1778 paved the streets of Dover.
The decision to start building on the shingle bank
was taken by the Harbour Commissioners in 1816, and
Marine Parade was completed in 1820. The houses on
the Esplanade were commenced in 1833, and Waterloo
Crescent in 1834. The houses at East Cliff span this
whole building period and beyond, into the 1840s.
In 1850, due to erosion of the shoreline caused by
the change in currents after the construction of the
, the Harbour Board commenced the building
of a strong sea wall along the Esplanade. This was
extended along Waterloo Crescent and Marine Parade.
East Cliff was not under the jurisdiction of the Harbour
Board and was left with little protection other than
shingle, and it soon became necessary to build sea
defences here too. These were built by the Borough
Council in 1878.
The sweeping curve of promenade created by the sea
wall has been popular ever since with local and tourists
alike. In Victorian times there were
sea bathing establishments and bathing machines
Large hotels like the Grand
and the Burlington
were opened to cater for the increasing tourist trade.
Concerts could be enjoyed in the Granville
and, for a short while, the Promenade
was another attraction on the Sea Front.
The Sea Front suffered serious damage in the Second
. In the late 1950s the houses of Marine
Parade were cleared to make way for the new Gateway
Flats, an unfortunate development of council flats
out of scale and character with the surviving Victorian
buildings. In spite of this the Sea Front still provides
and excellent promenade with marvellous views of the
the busy harbour