Press Release – 17 December 2015
The Dover Bluebird Heritage Trail, designed to make the local community and visitors much more aware of Dover’s abundant heritage, has received £59,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Together with £15,000 contributed to equally by the Port of Dover, Dover Town Council and Dover District Council, this provides the funding required to deliver the project and will cover ongoing costs.
The trail will bring together a number of Dover’s heritage gems including the wonderfully preserved Dover Bronze Age Boat, extensive Roman town remains, Saxon, Norman and medieval religious institutions, Tudor, Georgian and Victorian fortifications, Jacobean domestic building as well as the Victorian and Edwardian harbour. The trail will connect these assets plus other little known buildings, sites and monuments in both the town centre and Port areas.
The trail route would be self-guided, marked by permanent, bronze pavement markers, supported by a free trail guide and map, website and interactive app, which will both market the trail and give further detailed historical information and images, details of heritage attractions and tourist facilities in the town and their opening hours.
The grant application was submitted by The Dover Society on behalf of the Port and Community Forum of which it is member – the PCF was established in 2013 by the Port as an independent forum to provide a focal point for engagement and debate on issues of mutual interest such as local regeneration. Some 20 key local organisations sit on the PCF and the funding was announced today at its latest meeting, aptly hosted at Cruise Terminal 1, the recently restored former Dover Marine Railway Station, a Grade II listed building which features in the trail.
The Forum adopted a Heritage Strategy to investigate ways to bring together the many heritage assets of the town and port to develop Dover as a tourist destination and to assist in the much needed regeneration of the area.
In January 2014, the PCF appointed a trail group including representatives from The Dover Society, Port of Dover, Dover Greeters, Dover Hoteliers, Big Local, English Heritage, White Cliffs Country Tourism Alliance, Dover District Council and Dover Town Council. The group has been working ever since on the development of a heritage trail and funding to support it.
After nearly two years of determined work, the group finally has the funding to deliver the trail.
Derek Leach, Chairman of the Port and Community Forum and the Dover Society, said:
“Whilst many know that Dover has a long and interesting history, few are aware of what and where much of that history is located and of its richness. This applies to both its local residents and the millions of people who pass through the town every year, either en route for a ferry crossing or as a cruise passenger. The Port has also a large number of marina visitors during the summer months. The trail aims to increase the number of visitors to the town and spending in Dover.”
Stuart McLeod, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund South East, said:
“Thanks to National Lottery players, today’s investment will bring together more of the little-known parts of Dover’s heritage for people to discover, increasing the understanding of the port town and the role it has played in history for residents and visitors alike.”
Tim Waggott, Chief Executive, Port of Dover, said:
“These are truly exciting as well as pivotal times for Dover. Whilst we take bold steps into the future, we want to celebrate the past and use it as a way to bring our community together, bring port and town together, bring visitors to Dover and reveal the heritage which binds us and identifies us. This is a fantastic example of finding innovative way to improve connectivity through partnership working and what we can achieve by all working towards a shared vision.
Paul Watkins, Leader, Dover District Council, said:
“These are exciting times for Dover with many projects coming together to stimulate the local economy. The St James development is attracting new retail and leisure investment with site clearance works well advanced. Construction will start in the New Year. Improving the public realm and connections between our wealth of heritage assets is a key aim of the Council. I am delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund is supporting this exciting project to highlight the town’s heritage through a well-marked trail route which clearly guides people through the town’s fascinating history.”
The Right Worshipful the Town Mayor, Cllr Chris Precious, said:
“Creating a town trail combined with a website will greatly raise the profile, awareness and knowledge of local historical sites. As we work to improve the appeal of Dover, such a trail will greatly support our collective work to change perceptions and reveal what Dover already has to offer as well as what it will have in future.”
With funding now in place, the aim is to launch the trail on Saturday 27 August 2016.