Snargate Street c.1820.
Snargate Street does not derive its name
from the Snar Gate in the old
as might be expected. Originally there was
no Snar Gate in the wall and the sea lapped the foot of the
cliffs where Snargate Street now stands. Gradually a shingle
bar collected at the base of the cliffs and this, combined
with silt deposited by the river
, provided the foundation for Snargate Street.
By 1370 the street had developed sufficiently for a gate to
be built in the town wall to connect it with the town. This
gate was called Snar Gate but the area had been referred to
Snargate Ward before the building of the gateway. It has been
suggested that engineers built a snare or trap across the
river mouth to catch rubbish before it blocked up the harbour,
and that it is from this “snare gate” that the name derives.
There was a tower in the old walls called Snar Gate Tower
The street developed into one of the main commercial areas
of the town, connecting the growing port
with the town centre. Many local businesses had premises
in the street, the Theatre
opened in 1790, and in 1802 the Grand
connected the Western
military complex with the town. For many years
the town’s main newspaper the Dover Express had its offices
in Snargate Street.
The face of Snargate Street has changed completely since 1939.
It was seriously damaged in the Second
, when many of its buildings were destroyed,
leaving the street a shadow of its former self. The new M20
to the Eastern Docks
now follows the line of Snargate Street, with the street itself
just an access road along the landward side of the dual carriageway.
The remaining buildings on Snargate Street line this access
road with their backs to the cliff looking out across the
motorway and the harbour.
Above and left - two views of Snargate
Street about 1900.
Snargate Street c.1930. Showing
the demolition of buildings on the seward side of
Snargate Street 25 January 2004.