Military Hospital, Archcliffe Yard, Military Prison
Click on the map for a larger version The same area from St. Martin's Battery in the 1960's
B&W Picture Courtesy Cedric Coleman
The whole area known as 'Archcliffe' is much larger than just the site of Archcliffe Fort. It encompasses the sites of a Military Hospital, Archcliffe Yard, an RASC establishment, and a Military Prison. It is difficult to totally separate these areas so they will be dealt with largely as one. I have to date been able to find very little evidence for Archcliffe Yard and even less for the Military Prison, but what I do have will be shared here. It's a case of 'watch this space'.
The military hospital at Archcliffe was built in 1803 and was probably demolished 1962 to make way for industrial buildings.
Other than this, there seems to be very little documentary evidence concerning the hospital. We have been told however, that when it was demolished all the records that were still there were destroyed also. In its later life the Hospital served as the HQ for the Garrison Royal Engineer.
Archcliffe Yard was on a site opposite Archcliffe Fort, and south-west to the Hospital. The yard was a service establishment for the military and included stables and other utilities.
From the Author's Collection, Postmarked 1914...........................And 1999 About the same view
The exact same view was not possible due to lots of tree growth but the road is the original and Burgess Welding Supplies now occupies the exact spot of the hospital.
There is a sally-port and tunnel between the hospital and St. Martin's Battery. As the hospital is actually outside the fortress as such, that is, when the various drawbridges and gates are closed the hospital can still be accessed from the streets of Dover, it must have been necessary to build a route into the fort which bypassed the South Military Road. This sally-port allowed the occupants of the hospital a direct route to withdraw into the complex.
This route itself comprised steps up the hill next to the Archcliffe Gate ditch, across a small drawbridge and up a long, stepped passage. The ends of the passage were secured by defensible doors at the lower end and a fancy set of iron gates at the top. The passage came out just forward of St. Martin's Battery.
Follow the red dotted route opposite from up the hill next to the hospital, across the ditch, through the secret passage and out at St. Martin's Battery in a virtual tour.
Click on the map opposite to begin your journey...
Some allotments and part of the Archcliffe Yard were demolished to make way for the new AVO factory during 1965/66.
A model of the new AVO factory circa 1965. Note road in front is Archcliffe Rd and road to right, Channel View Road, formerly Hospital Road
Picture from souvenir programme for 'Dover Past & Present, An exhibition of local history. Town Hall, June 23 - July 3, 1965'The souvenir reads....'AVO's new factory now under construction on the Archcliffe Estate is a foretaste of future Dover. It constitutes a major addition to Dover's industrial capacity'.
The 1965 building as it is today, from Archcliffe Road, A20. May 2000