This memorial marks the spot on North Fall Meadow, behind Dover Castle, where Louis
Bleriot crash landed after his
successful flight across the Channel from the French coast
Over the last hundred years, people have attempted, with varying levels of success, to
cross the Channel by many different means, from bathtubs to balloons, tunnels to bridges.
The pictures on this page celebrate the efforts of three of the pioneers - Louis
Bleriot, Charles Rolls and Matthew Webb.
Charles Rolls, first to fly the Channel both ways non-stop.
First to fly non-stop from England to France and back was Charles Rolls, partner in the
Rolls Royce Motor Company.
The building behind the Rolls statue was originally the County Skating Rink, later
converted to a sea-plane shed. When no longer required for sea-planes it was
converted for military use, along with the drill-hall behind. The new A20 road from
the Eastern Docks to London now passes through the site and the statue has been re-sited.
Close-up of the head of Charles Rolls statue
Matthew Webb, the first man to swim across the Channel
The first of many to swim the Channel was Matthew Webb.
This bust of Mr. Webb stood on the sea-front opposite the once elegant East Cliff
mansions. It has been re-sited for road widening.
Swimming the Channel is now an annual event, with swimmers from all over the world
competing to be the fastest. Relay teams as well as individual swimmers regularly
attempt the 21-mile crossing. Some have even made the return trip.