Sunday, 9 November 2014


Deal is just a little bit further around the coast from our last point of call, Dover. What should have been a short hop on the train turned out to be a longer rail-replacement bus service, although more accurately a coach service. The annoyance of this was, however, outweighed by the fact that it revealed four clocks on the run into Deal which would not have been spotted from the train.

The first of these clocks is at the Cavalry Barracks in Dover Road. Now a residential development (as is the fate of every interesting building in the country and probably the world), this was once part of the substantial military presence in the town.

And as it is a residential conversion it is of course gated. Which unfortunately means that the view down the drive through the bars of the gate result in the clock being obscured by the flagpole.

Continuing in to the centre of Deal (although the place seems to be called Walmer rather than Deal), the next interesting location is the lifeboat station, built in 1871.

Continuing the military theme, we next come to North Barracks.

And then on to East Barracks, which has now acquired the name Admiralty Mews (Private Road) as it has also metamorphosed into another residential development.

No respectable Victorian seaside town is complete without its pier. Deal pier is rather unusual in that it has concrete supports rather than the more common timber or cast iron.

There has been a pier in Deal since 1838, but this version dates from 1957, hence the more modern construction method. Total length of the pier is 313 m (with thanks to the book "Pierdom" by Simon Roberts - great pictures of all the piers in the UK).

A quick look now at the railway station, opened in 1847, with its utilitarian clock in the booking hall.

Retail therapy now in the great little shopping streets of Deal ("a good deal to be found and good deals to be had" as the saying might go if the Chamber of Commerce wanted to have a cheesy slogan).

This is Hoads, a shoe shop....

...and this clock can be found on Skinners, an electrical supplier.


Clearly this building on the High Street has seen a number of occupants over the years, as witnessed by the different names on each side of the clock.

Still on the High Street, this is St George's church of 1710.

And finally not a proper clock at all (although there is a small one in the downstairs window) but the much rarer sight of a timeball.

The building houses a museum, but unfortunately it is closed at this time of the year.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014


Ah, the white cliffs of Dover, with rampaging bluebirds and ferries to-ing and fro-ing across the sea to France, a distance of only 21 miles (or a bit further if you are going by kilometres).

The port is not as busy as its heyday, what with that Channel Tunnel malarkey, cheap flights to Europe and no more steamers from Margate (which may never have existed in the first place). Talking of Margate, Dover was also a haunt of Mr Turner - which reminds me I must go and see the film.

Anyway, whilst the town centre is perhaps somewhat short of its prime, a lot of effort has been made to make the seafront look good. And on the seafront we find our first clock....

The harbour clock tower was built in 1876-77 and is now Grade II listed. The clock itself was made in 1830 by I P Paine of London, and was installed in an earlier tower which was demolished in 1871.

Further history of the tower, and many other interesting facts about the town, can be found on the Dover Historian site at

Not that far from the clock tower is a triple spiral staircase built into the cliffs to enable troops to move from the seafront to the barracks on the cliff tops. These barracks are now ruins, but are well worth visiting, in nothing else for the magnificent views of the sea.

In the town centre in Cannon Street we find the church of St Mary the Virgin. This was originally a Norman church dating from 1066-1086, but was extensively rebuilt in 1843.

And if the clock mechanism fails, there is a back up sundial.

Just up the road is a branch of A Simmonds the jewellers which seem to be a local chain. I wasn't sure if this branch had closed or was undergoing refurbishment.

Continuing inland, the next clock juts proudly out from the side of the old Town Hall.

As in many other locations in the town, the building has a memorial to wartime actions. All I can say is that there must of been giant mutant wildlife on the continent in those days if they could fit that large bell to a mole.

Oh, and look. The first signs of Christmas decorations - you can never have them up too early.

Good old Morrisons - they can often be relied upon to provide a clock, even if it is the same old boring design.

This clock is on a building currently for sale in Castle Street. I wonder if having a clock adds value to the property or whether it is seen as a maintenance liability.

And that's all the clocks I could find in Dover. But I bet there are a few more lurking about, so as ever please let me know.