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Snargate Street

Snargate Street does not derive its name from the Snar Gate  in the old town walls 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 Dour, 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 before  1370.  The street developed into one of the main commercial areas of  the town, connecting the growing port area with the town  centre. Many local businesses had premises in the street and  the Theatre Royal opened in 1790. The Grand Shaft connecting the Western Heights military complex with the town opened in  1802. 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  1930. In that year some of the seaward side of the street,  along with most of Northampton Street, was demolished as  part of improvements to Commercial Quay. It was seriously  damaged in the Second World War, 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.
Snargate Street in 1830. The approach to the the Grand Shaft is down the turning on the left by the cart. Snargate Street c.1905. The Dover Express office can be seen to the left of the clock. Snargate Street, September 1944. The corner of the building just visible on the right of the frame is the Trocadero Bars which can be seen in the photo from the early 1930s. Snargate Street, May 1930. Looking from Northampton Street after the demolition of buildings for the Commercial Quay improvements. Snargate Street, early 1930s. The sign "Troc Bars" indidcates the Trocadero Bars which opened in 1907. The picture of wartime damage shows the same stretch of street. Back to Streets Index