Dover sole

  The common sole or Dover sole, Solea solea, is a species of fish in the Soleidae family. It has a preference for relatively shallow water with sand or mud covering the bottom. It is found in the Eastern Atlantic ocean, from the south of Norway to Senegal, and in almost all of the Mediterranean Sea. In the winter it withdraws to the somewhat warmer waters of the Southern North Sea.




The small eyes are close to each other on the right-hand side of the body. This gives the fish the possibility of lurking half-buried in the sand for passing prey. The common sole, just like all other flatfish, is born as an "ordinary" fish with one eye on each side of the body. The young metamorphose to flatfish when they are about one cm long. The common sole approaches a maximum length of approximately 70 cm.
Chefs prize Dover sole for its mild, buttery sweet flavor and versatility and for its ease of filleting. The fish yields fillets that hold together well in a variety of recipes.
The name "Dover" comes from Dover, the English fishing port landing the most sole in the 19th century.
Because of its prestige, the name "Dover sole" was borrowed to name the eastern Pacific species Microstomus pacificus, a quite distinct species with different culinary properties: the Pacific sole has thinner, less firm fillets and sells for a lower price. 
Robert SIMMS of Dover - sale of salt fish at 10 shillings a cwt or 5 farthings a lb

(Kentish Gazette Jan 8 - 12 1790 p.1 col.3)

Immense quantity of Herrings sold 20 to 30 for 1 shilling (Dover Telegraph 7 Nov 1846 p.8 col.1)

Quantities of Sprats 3d per 100 (Dover Telegraph 26 Dec 1846 p.8 col.2)


Dover: A very extraordinary fish was caught on Friday last by some of our fishermen. But at present they are unable to determine the genus to which it belongs. It is about 2-feet in length, and from the neck to the tail is of the “Fiddler” species. The head is immense and the mouth of such dimensions that a calf 's head of no ordinary size would have found an easy passage. It has flippers resembling the feet of a mole with each toe complete, and on either side what fishermen denominate pockets, with a tail terminating in the shape of a dart. It has been called by the several names of the Sea Otter, Monk, and Angler and is carried about to be shown as a 'lusus naturae'.”
(Kentish Gazette, June 11, 1839, page 3, col 4


A large whale 80-ft x 20-ft diameter died on the Goodwin Sands
(Kentish Gazette Fri 15 Oct 1802 back page col.3 half way down)

WHALE:    "A whale of such magnitude" on the shore at Dover 
(Kentish Gazette 26 Oct 1802 back page col.3)

"A whale of such magnitude" on the shore at Dover
The account of the large whale 80-ft x 20-ft diameter which died on the Goodwin Sands -
(Kentish Gazette Fri 15 Oct 1802 back page col.3  half way down) must refer to the same one


"W. 3 May 1797 I asked Mr Moon if the Dover Boats were gone yet on the mackarel season. He said they were just gone this week and told me that one of the boats belonging to Hastings had already catched in one night between that place and Dungeness 7,000 mackarel which were sold at sea for a Guinea and a half a hundred, making £110.5s., this was remarkably fortunate for the fishermen - who in their hurry hauled the Fish on board in the nets as they were, or they would have sold for more.”
(E.Kent Archives)