Early history of Samphire Hoe

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On the 26th January 1843, 185 barrels of gunpowder were used to blow a large section of the cliff, to provide a platform that the Dover to Folkestone railway line could be constructed on. The sea no longer directly eroded the cliffs.

In 1881 Colonel Beaumont started digging from Shakespeare cliff using his compressed air boring machine, 2024 yards later the enterprise came to a halt, some say due to a lack of money, others from concern by the Department of War that the French would invade through the tunnel.

In 1895, the Dover Colliery was started, three shafts were sunk but due to problems of flooding and explosions in the pit, the mine was never profitable. By 1921 when it closed only 120 tonnes of coal had been dug.

In the early 1970's another attempt was made. A tunnel was cut through the cliff to reach the old colliery site and the boring machine put in place. By 1975 the Government had withdrawn support for the scheme. There was just money for an experimental drive which was successfully completed on 300m.

HistoryBookShakespeareCliff.jpgFor further information on the history of the area, the book "Shakespeare Cliff: a People's History" is available from Samphire Hoe for £4.00.