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Churches of the British Isles

Gallery: Churches of Kent

by Peter Kessler, 13 February 2011

Dover Part 12: Churches of Dover

St Paul's Catholic Church, Dover, Kent

St Paul's Catholic Church is on the northern side of Maison Dieu Road, opposite Pencester Road. The church was built in 1867-1868 as the first permanent place of worship for Catholics in Dover. The Dover Mission had existed some time before, and Our Lady of Pity Catholic Church stood for a while on Snargate Street. A site for this new church was chosen in Ashen Tree Lane, but when the ground was found to be unsuitable, it was sold and the present site purchased.

Dover Baptist Church, Dover, Kent

Dover Baptist Church meets at New Salem Chapel, on the southern side of Maison Dieu Road, some metres north-west of the junction with Park Street. This replaced the original Salem Chapel which formerly stood in Biggin Street. Lacking the space for much-needed expansion, the church's members built their new chapel on this site in 1969. The following year the old premises were demolished, along with several adjoining buildings, to make way for Boots the Chemist.

St Columba United Reformed Church, Dover, Kent

St Columba United Reformed Church stands on the north-west corner of the High Street and Priory Hill (seen here in the early 1900s). A Huguenot weaver on Bench Street at the start of the 1700s helped found an informal church in his workshop. This expanded and moved to a 'malt and mill house' on Last Lane close to Zion Chapel. Later, the Independents of St John Mariner Church founded Russell Street Congregational Church in July 1838 (near the waterfront).

St Columba United Reformed Church, Dover, Kent

This merged with the 'mill house' church in 1900. In 1904, the present building opened as High Street Congregational Church. It became St Columba in 1971, but services ended on 31 August 2003, and the church merged with London Road Methodist Church. The building was converted into apartments in 2007 but a week before sales began, the upper floor and roof were completely destroyed by fire. Now due for demolition, the church remained untouched by mid-2010.

Salvation Army Tabernacle, Dover, Kent

Salvation Army Tabernacle stands on the western side of the High Street, opposite Wood Street. The Tabernacle has had a rough life. It was built in 1913, just before the outbreak of the First World War, and was largely destroyed by enemy action during the Second World War. It was rebuilt in 1955, but finally closed and was sold to a local businessman in 2003. Internal work was being carried out in 2007 to convert the building, but for which purpose is unknown.

Tower Hamlets Methodist Church, Dover, Kent

Tower Hamlets Methodist Church stands on the northern side of Tower Street, close to the junction with South Road in the westerly Tower Hamlets district of Dover. In 1850, Steriker Finnis, who built the first part of this district, gave the Wesleyans a site on which to build a chapel. This opened in the same year as Tower Hamlets Wesleyan Mission Hall. It merged with London Road Methodist Church in 2003, and the old building was converted into two private dwellings.

The Ark, Dover, Kent

The Ark sits on the crest of an extremely steep hill at the top of Tower Hamlets, on the northern side of Noah's Ark Road, opposite Northbourne Avenue. The Ark was purchased in 1996 by Dover Apostolic Church, which moved here from their premises on London Road. The former eye-hospital was formally opened for worship by Harold Wade in September 1997. The Arena and Terrace Suite extension was opened in 2003 as a combined community and conference centre.

Gateway Christian Fellowship, Dover, Kent

Gateway Christian Fellowship sits on the southern side of Tower Hamlets Road, opposite De Burgh Street, in which the Assemblies of God Pentecostal Church meets. The building existed in 1991 but perhaps not much earlier than that, due to the fact that the church requested retrospective planning permission for the construction of a 'detached cabin', the fellowship building, in 2010, which was granted. What occupied the site before 1991 is not known.

Peter Street (Primitive) Methodist Chapel, Dover, Kent

Peter Street (Primitive) Methodist Chapel stood around the south-east corner of Peter Street and High Street. Primitive Methodist services started in a carpenter's workshop in Limekiln Street in 1849. Preparations began in 1851 to place a chapel in Peter Street. It was built in 1860 but proved too small and not central enough, so in 1898 the site for London Road Methodist Church was purchased and the Peter Street site sold. By 2010 it was filled by new housing.

St Bartholomew's Church, Dover, Kent

St Bartholomew's Church stood on the north-west corner of London Road and Templar Street. It was built to serve the Tower Hamlets district in 1877-1879, designed by Joseph Clark. The Early English building was thirty-three metres in length, and consisted of a clerestoried nave of five bays, side aisles and apse-shaped chancel. The parish went to St Peter & St Paul Charlton on 1 July 1972, and soon after the church was demolished to make way for new housing.

Nine photos on this page by P L Kessler, and one kindly contributed by Dover History Scrapbook.



Images and text copyright © all contributors mentioned on this page. An original feature for the History Files.