I went across to Calais for lunch with some friends a few days ago. Passing through Eastern Docks at Dover twenty years after I had finished working there was a mind rattling experience. For all the time that I was there the port had been a building site. If a building was not being erected it was being demolished. Now, the place is almost empty. Where once you would have arrived at the front of the port under an enormous illuminated DOVER HARBOUR BOARD sign, checked your ticket at one of the ticket booths, if you were a hovercraft passenger your vehicle would have been directed to the first floor parking area, if not you continued under the canopy to the enormous Customs and Immigration shed; or you might, before continuing through, have parked up to visit the passenger services building attached to No1 Control Building, in order to return your rental car, exchange money at the NatWest Bank or amend your ticket at the ferry company's desk; now there was... nothing. It was just an expanse of concrete and tarmac with different coloured lines painted on it. It seems that the entire port has now been demolished.
|The original Dover Hoverport buildings now converted to office accommodation.|
Well not quite. Some buildings have been replaced by newer versions but many have just disappeared so I was surprised on disembarking in the evening to realise that the original Dover Hoverport buildings were still standing. The hovercraft moved across to Dover West in 1978 because they needed more room than was available at the East and their terminal building and maintenance area was converted for use by Kent Police. Originally, the glazed section in the middle of the building was a glass roofed area where the hovercraft would be run in for repairs.
Ironically, the newer Hoverport in Western Docks has already been demolished.