The detached breakwater was constructed in 1904 and along with the expanded harbour, the guns on the breakwater served to defend the harbour itself. Alongside the gun emplacements were searchlights, accommodation and magazines. Originally the guns would have been light 12-pounders and heavier 6 inch guns but with the need for heavier artillery with the advent of WWII, twin 6 pdr guns were added. The remains for the emplacements for these twin 6-pdrs can be seen at the western end of the breakwater, and the searchlight sponsons are clearly visible in this vicinity, too, although they have been damaged by wave action. At quay level is the casemated accommodation for barracks, stores, magazines, engine room and latrines. The magazines still have their shell and cartridge lifts in place. A barrack at the western end has murals from the Second World War period, including “Popeye” and “Mickey Mouse”.
The breakwater defences appear to have been maintained until coastal defences were disbanded in 1956. Many of the structures within the breakwater are now home to seagulls and a rather large population of pigeons; needless to say, there is a huge amount of their deposits piled up on the breakwater. Dover Harbour Board intend to seal up the breakwater in the near future to prevent the corrosive action of bird deposits doing any further damage, as well as presenting a hazard to health. The extreme ends of the breakwater are already closed to anglers as a protective measure to the integrity of the structure.
Location: The Harbour, Dover
Date Of Visit: 09/07/04