Dover Town Hall
old print, probably early 1800s.
DOVER – THE ANCIENT TOWN HALL:
“A subscription is opened at Dover to finish the ancient town-hall. The estimated cost is about £16,000. The grand picture of the Duke of Wellington is affixed in the hall; and leave was obtained of the council at their quarterly meeting on Tuesday to place it by a portrait of Her Majesty, should her royal sanction to a sitting for the purpose be obtained.”
(Kentish Gazette 12 February 1839 p.3 col.2)
The Maison Dieu
The Maison Dieu or Domus Dei - meaning House of God, in both its Norman French and Latin forms - was founded in 1203 by Hubert de Burgh, Constable of Dover Castle and Earl of Kent.
The Maison Dieu and its large grounds were built as a hospice, run by monks, to provide temporary lodgings for travelling pilgrims and for the care of wounded and destitute soldiers and old people.
The monks soon added stables, a bakery, a brewery, farmlands and orchards. When Henry III consecrated the chapel in 1227 he was the first in a long line of monarchs to visit the Maison Dieu, later to include Edward II, Edward III, Richard II, Henry V and Henry VI. The monks were evicted in 1544 during the reformation and the Maison Dieu and its lands were given to the Navy for use as a Victualling Store, which supplied the English fleet for 300 years, from the time of the Spanish Armada to the Battle of Trafalgar.
A magnificent suite of four beautiful historic rooms to seat from 10 to 500 guests, Dover Town Hall is a unique historical setting for special occasions and popular venue for civil marriage ceremonies.
Connaught Hall was originally opened in 1880's as a concert and meeting hall very much Victorian with pillars and balconies and a magnificent dance floor.The hall is currently used regularly for tea dances, exhibition, concerts, dinner/dances and shows.
The hall can seat 500 theatre style for a show or concert and 300 cabaret style for dinner/dances with a good size dance floor.
The Maison Dieu seen from Priory Field, looking out to sea - old print c.1800
Dover's Corporation Plate c.1900
Details for Guided tour of Dover Town Hall
On every Wednesday from 10am until 4pm ( 1st April – 31st October ) from 10am until 2pm ( 1st November – 31st March ) visitors will be able to join a guided tour of the building led by volunteer guides from The Dover Society. There will be a small charge of £1 for adults (children under 16 free ) Dover Town Hall is a working building and tour routes may vary depending on functions.
Please ring the Dover Visitor Information Centre 01304 205108 to check tours are running before making a special visit.
White Cliffs Country website to see and do features guided Tours of Dover Town hall.