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Image:  Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington (1769-1852).
Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington (1769-1852), hero of the Battle of Waterloo, became Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports and Constable of Dover Castle in January 1829.

The Duke was never ceremonially installed as Lord Warden but on 30 August 1839 a banquet took place in his honour. The event was held in a specially built pavilion opposite the Maison Dieu. The building cost £1,200, it covered an area of 20,420 square feet, 20,000 cubic feet of timber was used in its construction, 100 men were employed for 60 days building it and it contained seating for 2,250 people.

As the South Eastern Railwayís line from Folkestone approached Dover, it had to cut through Shakespeare Cliff. The tunnel was cut in the form of two Gothic arches, the two tunnels being divided by a wall of chalk 10 feet thick. The Duke visited the site on 1 November 1843, and walked through the whole length of the new tunnel, three-quarters of a mile.

The Duke interested himself in the affairs of Dover Harbour and, as Lord Warden, was Chairman of the Harbour Commissioners. During the Dukeís time much work was carried out to improve the harbour, enlarging the tidal harbour and building new quays on the inner harbour. In 1846 a swing bridge and gates were provided to give direct access to the Pent (now called the Wellington Dock) from the tidal harbour. On 13 November 1846, the Wellington Bridge was opened by the Duke himself, who drove over it in his carriage , while the guns of the Drop Redoubt fired a salute.

The Dukeís last public engagement was in Dover, and again related to harbour improvements. On Saturday, 11 September 1852 he rode on horseback to look at the construction work on the new Admiralty Pier. He was taken ill the following Tuesday and died that afternoon.


Image:  The Wellington Banquet Pavilion, 1839.
The Wellington Banquet Pavilion, 1839.


Image:  The Duke carrying out his last public engagement at the new Admiralty Pier, September 1852.
The Duke carrying out his last public engagement at the new Admiralty Pier, September 1852.

 

 


 


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Image:  Shakespeare Cliff.transparent