Dover Citadel, (Western Heights), Kent
Drop Redoubt Rd, Off A20
Dover Citadel, also known as the North Centre Bastion, along with its nearby link-detached sister, Drop Redoubt, make up the massive Western Heights Napoleonic fortifications. Together they are amongst the most impressive of their type to be found anywhere in the country.
Together with Dover Castle the extensive fortifactions overlook the critical port of Dover.
Drop Redoubt, situated between the Citadel and Dover Castle, is an impressive pentagon shaped stronghold that has been partially restored and open to the public on a few dates during the year.
The Citadel on the other hand has been recently used as a borstal, prison and immigration detention centre. As a result public access has not been permitted, but it is now possible to explore its extensive defensive works. Unlike Drop Redoubt, you will find the deep dry ditches and bastions very overgrown, which makes the exploration fascinating and well worth the effort.
~ History ~
1779 ~ In response to the growing threat of invasion from France, the British Government allocate significant sums of money for the fortification of the Western Heights of Dover, overlooking the English Channel and important harbour of Dover.
1781 ~ The Board of Ordnance buys 33 acres of the Western Heights in order to construct the defences first proposed three years earlier
1793 ~ Little further work had been carried out until the outbreak of the Napoleonic Wars. Plans are now drawn up to enhance the existing fortifications. The defences are to consist of a citadel on the west side of the hill and a redoubt on the eastern side, connected by strong defensive lines.
1815 ~ The building of Drop Redoubt is completed, including barracks for 200 men. However, a treaty with France had been concluded the previous year after more than £200,000 had been spent on the vast network of fortifications.
1859 ~ A perceived threat to Britain posed by Napoleon III, Emperor of France, leads to a review of the state of the nation’s fortifications. As a result the northern side of the hill is totally relandscaped and the lines connecting the Drop Redoubt and the citadel are improved.
Its defences are never put to the test and fortications are used by the military through both World Wars as barracks.