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Dover: Lock and Key of the Kingdom

Dover Stage Hotel

The Dover Stage Hotel was built on a site between Townwall  Street and Camden Cresent and had entrances on both roads.  The building overlooked the Granville Gardens with views of the  harbour. The site was acquired after the Second World War by the  brewers Watney, Combe and Reid for £4,250.  The site was  originally occupied  by Shipdem's House, or the Round House,  which faced Granville Gardens and backed onto Townwall  Street.  This regency Villa was built by John Shipdem in the  early 19th century.  Shipdem was the Town Clerk and Registrar  of Dover Harbour from 1791.  It was said that he built it round  so that the devil could not catch him in a corner!  Later it  became the British Legion Club and then the private Round  House Club. The building was demolished after damage by  shelling during the Second World War. Construction of the hotel started in January 1956 to a design by Louis Erdi in the modern post war style, with six floors and  balanced on V-shaped struts.  The hotel had 42 rooms on the  upper five floors, all facing the sea and with their own  balconies. The public rooms included a large ballroom, saloon  bar, lounge, foyer, tea room, and an American bar.  The cost of  the building was in the region of £60,000 plus the cost of  furniture and equipment.   The Dover Stage was opened in May 1957 by the Mayor of  Dover, who rode to the ceremony in an old stagecoach.  Its  public rooms became a popular location for dinners, dances and  wedding receptions.  Such a location had been sorely missed in  the town after the destruction of the nearby Grand Hotel and  closure of the Lord Warden Hotel during the Second World War.  However, with only 42 rooms it was not a large hotel and its  small size was the cause of its demise in 1988. In June that  year permission was sought to demolish and erect flats in its  place. Demolition work commenced in October 1988. The flats  were never built and no more imaginative use than a car park  can be found for this central site on the Seafront.
Dover Stage Hotel c.1960.  Viewed across the Granville Gardens. Dover Stage Hotel c.1970. Dover Stage demolition 1988. Shipdem's House or the Round House c1920.  The building was being used as the British Legion Club at the time. Shipdem's House c.1810.  In this old engraving the house can clearly be seen on the left.