The Dover & Deal constituency includes not only the towns of Dover and Deal but many villages too. Capel le Ferne, St Margarets, Kingsdown and Ringwould, Shepherdswell, Eythorne, Whitfield, River, Alkham, Denton, Wootton, Eastry, Aylesham and Nonington, with many, many more besides.
Dover is the busiest port in Western Europe, the Gateway to England, with an industrial heritage. Deal is a historical and traditional seaside town, with a famous past of supplying ships moored on the Downs as well as a more colourful history of smuggling.
The constituency was home to the Kent coalfield, whose mines stopped lifting coal in the 1980s. The rolling countryside includes some of the most beautiful and scenic landscape in the country. Not just the famous White Cliffs – the chalk downland makes for lovely walks, rare plants and a successful farming industry.
How many towns have names in three languages? Just London (Londres in French and Londinium in Latin) and Dover (Douvres and Dubris).
As a coastal constituency the area's history is inextricably linked to the sea. For thousands of years, Dover has been the Gateway to England. Our community has a great trading past and present. The Roman Painted House in Dover testifies to this rich history. Deal’s Timeball Tower was built to help ships set the correct time – the ball drops at 1pm precisely each day. Today, ferries ply back and forth from Dover, bringing with them thousands of lorries that supply Britain with everything from food to car parts.
And our coastline is well protected too – Dover Castle was built nearly 1,000 years ago, while Walmer Castle and Deal Castle were built by Henry VIII. The British Channel Fleet used to be stationed on the Downs off Deal during the Napoleonic Wars.
More recently, Dover was the front line in the Battle of Britain – the famous White Cliffs becoming the symbol of Britain’s defiance of Hitler’s Fascist threat. Today, the Battle of Britain War Memorial at Capel remembers The Few who gave their lives so that the many could be free.
In the 1980s, the Royal Marines were subjected to an IRA atrocity. We do not forget. Each year the Royal Marines play at the Bandstand to remember their murdered comrades. Sadly, the armed services presence of Dover is much reduced. The Marines, who were based in Walmer until recently, and the Navy have moved out West. The army presence is largely gone too, with Connaught Barracks ceasing to house troops.
Yet Dover & Deal looks to build a greater future. Regeneration is now the order of the day. The Conservative District Council is setting out bold plans to get the lorries out of the centre of Dover and develop a harbour front experience to attract people to visit and live locally. A key priority is to get higher grade, skilled jobs into our area so we can all be better off.
So our area is beautiful, vibrant, has a great history and is set to have an even greater future. Much more information about our area and its amazing history can be found at White Cliffs Country.