What is know generally as the Seafront by the inhabitants of Dover does in fact have four separate names for its different stretches. From the Prince of Wales Pier to the Eastern Docks, the sections are the Esplanade, Waterloo Crescent, Marine Parade and East Cliff.Prior to 1817 the site of the Seafront 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 Admiralty Pier, 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 Gardens and, for a short while, the Promenade Pier was another attraction on the Seafront.The Seafront suffered serious damage in the Second World War. 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 Seafront still provides and excellent promenade with marvellous views of the Castle and the busy harbour.