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Bench Street


Bench Street & King Street
(Picture courtesy of Dover Library)

The etching above shows Bench Street looking towards King Street and the Market Square before it was redeveloped in the 1800s.  On the right, with the smoking chimney, is the Shakespere Hotel.  There are no other businesses named in the illustration, which is un-dated.


Bench Street c.1912
(Picture courtesy of Dover Library)

The picture above was taken from the junction of Bench Street, Snargate Street (left), Townwall Street (right) and New Bridge.  The view is little changes today, but Townwall Street and Snargate Street, once busy, narrow, thoroughfares, are now largely lost under a wide dual-carriageway that carries the main A2 London Road from the Eastern Docks.  There is no longer an entrance into Bench Street from this junction.

The shop on the corner of Snargate Street is occupied by Faith & Co, Grocers, by appointment to Prince Arthur.  In the 1960s and 1970s it was Walters' Furniture and Carpet Shop (see picture below) and, latterly, an amusement arcade.  The sign above the Royal Arms points to the Royal Hippodrome in Snargate Street.  A poster in the first-floor window indicates that the accommodation is to be let.  The statue of a Chinaman above the front of the shop is presumably advertising China tea.  What was the gentleman on the top deck of the tram pointing at?  Whatever it is, the constable wasn't taking any notice as he proceeded in a northerly direction in the middle of the road!

For tram enthusiasts, Car 9 was built by Brush of Loughborough in 1897 and withdrawn in the 1920s (Dover's Tramways, Robert J Harley, Middleton Press, 1993).

Tram-car no. 9 is heading from the Pier District towards the Market Square on its way to Buckland.  The advertising board on the back is promoting Leney's Ales and Stout.


Bench Street 1965
(Picture courtesy of Dover Library)
  The bus (above) is heading to the Marine Station, having come from River via Buckland and Market Square Service S5).  The services to and from the Pier District at this time were known as workers' buses.  For bus enthusiasts, the registration no. of the vehicle is FFN 362. 

Can you recognise your car?  The Ford is CYL 257C; the Morris Minor is 257 XMU and the Traveller is 690 MK? (last letter obscured).  Waiting is limited to "30 minutes in any hour from 8AM to 11PM."

The newsagent's shop on the right, at the junction of Townwall Street, and the adjoining property, have been demolished as part of the Town Centre Investment Zone re-development.  It is displaying advertisements for Players, Senior Service and Woodbine cigarettes and Wall's Ice Cream.  Next door, The Gift Shop - "gifts for all occasions" - is having a sale.  Geerings, the book shop and stationers, is advertising Reeves art materials.  The names of the other businesses are not visible, but the Restaurant and Bakery of Igglesden & Graves (now Dickens) can clearly be seen on the corner of Market Square and Church Street to the right of the bus.  The buildings in the background to the left of the bus are in King Street.


Tudor Fireplace
(Picture courtesy of Dover Library)
  The Tudor fireplace (above) was revealed during demolition