The Western Heights - The Citadel and Drop Redoubt
The wars of 1779-83 saw the beginning of both of fortifications on both of these sites but what remains today dates from the early and mid 19th century. Construction began in 1804 in response to the threat posed to Britain by the Napoleonic Wars with France. The Drop Redoubt was built between 1804-8 (a redoubt is a detached fort, the 'drop' refers to the remains of Dover's second Romanlighthouse, referred to locally as the 'Devil's Drop of Mortar'). The Citadel, a much larger fort, was still under construction in 1815 when peace was declared and all work on the Western Heights ceased. Deep defensive ditches lined with flint or brick surrounded both forts. A renewed threat of war in Europe in the 1850s encouraged the government to complete and modernise the fortifications at great cost. What was described as 'a honeycomb in a hill' was built, capable of housing over 4,000 soldiers, whose role was to 'hide' in the forts and attack any invader from the rear once they had passed Dover.Today the Drop Redoubt is owned by English Heritage and is sometimes open to the public. The Citadel has most recently been used as an Immigration Removal Centre which closed in 2015.