19-21 Cannon Street and 24 New Street
Above shows a drawing of the newly built Metropole Hotel, circa 1900.
Above shows Cannon Street and the Metropole Hotel, date unknown. By kind permission of the Dover Library. ILL/3589.
Originals belong to Mrs Dunford.
Above photo of the Commercial Room inside the Metropole Hotel, date unknown. By kind permission of the Dover Library. ILL/3588.
Originals belong to Mrs Dunford.
Metropole Hotel in Cannon Street is shown on the left. Date unknown. By kind permission of Dover Library.
MEMENTOES of Dover Tramway: One of the first Dover trams,
car No 3, with open top deck heads for Buckland from the Pier terminus near
the Crosswall quay and is about to overtake a cart hauled by two horses
standing outside the Metropole Restaurant which was opposite St Mary's Church.
In the background can be seen the Duchess of Kent and Walmer Castle public
houses standing side by side near the King Street corner of the Market
Square. Behind the tram is believed to Waterloo House, the very distinctive
shop of Hart & Co Incorporating a very useful public clock.
Built at a cost, including furnishings, of £17,000, following the road
widening of 1893. The opening was on 18 October 1896, but failed as a
successor to the "Royal oak."
From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 12 January, 1900.
PLATE GLASS SMASH: COMMITTED FOR TRIAL
William Garrett, was charged with wilfully breaking a plate glass window
at 21, Cannon Street, value £8 5s., the property of Mr. Herbert Walter
Mr. D. Houlden said: At a quarter past 11 at night I was walking down
Cannon Street, and when in front of Mr. Mount’s shop I heard a crash of
glass in front of me. Walking on I saw prisoner stand looking into the
window of Mr. Alston’s tailor shop under the “Metropole Hotel.” The
window was then broken – a large piece crack near the bottom, but still
in place. Then when I got up to prisoner he twice deliberately kicked
the window, extending the cracks. After this the man stood there looking
at the window not saying a word or moving. He stood quite straight, and
did not seem drunk. Then somebody said, “You had better clear off from
here,” and prisoner walked off, keeping straight enough. Word was sent
down to the Police in the Market Square, and two came and arrested
prisoner near Worthington Street. There was nothing to show the that
prisoner was drunk except the vacant way in which he did it.
Prisoner said he had no question to ask.
Mr. Alston said he carried on business as tailor and outfitter at 21,
Cannon Street, but lived at No. 17. They closed No. 21 soon after 8 p.m.
on Monday, when all was sound with the window. There were no shutters ,
nor was there any blind down. About twenty past eleven the same night he
was called by the Police , and went to No. 21, and there found the
window broken, the piece produced (almost a semi-circle) lying back in
the shop window , and the bottom part of the window was cracked. The
window was insured.
Mr. F. W. Hadlow, glazier, of 1, Cranbrook Villas, London Road, said
that the window was 119 inches by 80 inches, and about three-eights of
an inch thick. The value of the square plate glass was £8 5s. Although
the glass was not all broken, no one would undertake the replacing of
the window for less than £5, as the risk of not getting the old glass
out whole was very great.
Police Constable R. J. Prescott said that about 11.15 p.m. on Monday he
was called to Mr. Aston’s shop, where he found the plate glass window
broken. Prisoner was standing in Worthington Street, and on Mr. Houlden
pointing him out witness arrested him. He was suffering from the effects
of drink, but could walk and speak properly. On the way to the station
prisoner said that he had broken the window, and said that it was all
Prisoner made no statement.
Prisoner was committed for trial at the next Quarter Sessions, which
will probably take place on February 27th.
From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday 10
May, 1901. Price 1d.
EXTENSION OF TIME
An extension till 3 a.m. was granted to the "metropole Hotel" for
to-night, the occasion being a subscription dance organised by Mr. L. B.
From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday 18 January, 1907. Price 1d.
The management of the “Metropole Hotel” was granted an extension for
Thursday, January 17th, on the occasion of the Post Office annual
From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday 1
March, 1912. Price 1d.
The management of the "Metropole Hotel" were granted an extension
from 11 p.m. on the 1st March to 2 a.m. the next day, on the occasion of
a subscription dance.
From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 5
December, 1913. Price 1d.
An hours extension was allowed to the "Metropole Hotel," for the
Dover Amateur Operatic Society to have a dance after the conclusion of "Iolanthe"
The bars for some years were in the front of the building but in 1927
they were moved back and were replaced with a shop.
Plans for a new "Metropole Theatre" were produced in December 1905, they
no doubt being the forerunner of the hall which materialised in the rear. It
was a family and commercial hotel in 1911-12 but the whole passed to the
Dover Motor Company in 1915 and it was then used as a garage, offices and
From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 9 April, 1915. Price 1d.
THE METROPOLE HOTEL ALTERATIONS
At the Dover Police Court this (Friday) morning, an application for the
following licence transfers were made:-
The “Metropole Hotel” from Mr. Dew, to Mr. Wraith, managing director of
the Dover Motor Company. Mr. Chitty, who appeared, said that the company
had acquired the place to make the hotel portion a garage and offices,
the residential portion will remain the residential portion, to be
occupied by Mr. Wraith and the licensed portion will have no increased
drinking facilities, and there would be no new entrance.
The plans for the alterations were submitted to the bench, and passed.
Above picture taken from the Dover Express 2 July 1915.
The Plaza picture house later utilised that hall and first opened on 1
July 1929, the upper portion became flats, at the rear, its main entrance
was the former hotel one. In the years following world war two it developed as a leisure
amenity for the bingo enthusiast and the bars only operated then as part of
a club. It had always been a free house previously.
From the Dover Express and East Kent News, 27 December, 1935.
METROPOLE BARS PROSECUTED.
A SALE OF BEER WITHOUT EXCISE LICENCE.
At the Dover Police Court on Monday, before Messrs. W. J. Palmer and
W. L. Law.
Violet Mabel Selth, licensee of the Metropole Bars, Cannon Street,
was summoned for selling on 7th November at the Metropole Bars certain
beer for which she was required to take out a licence.
Mr. E. Wright, Surveyor of Customs and Excise, Dover, prosecuting.
William Middlemass, an alderman of the Customs and Excise, said that
at about 11 a.m. on 7th November he went to the Metropole Bars. They
were open, and he paid for and consumed a retail quantity of beer, which
was served to him by a young lady, whom he thought was a barmaid. The
previous licence expired on 30th September. The amount of licence
required up to the 1st February next was £31 5s. plus 5s. 3d. for
tobacco. Witness took the usual steps in cases of this kind. He sent out
the usual note on 28th September and a formal note reminder on 28th
October and a subsequent letter on 7th November.
Defendant said she wrote to Mr. Middleton asking him if he could let
it go until 20th December, when she hoped to be able to pay it. She had
been unable to pay it before owing to bad trade and heavy expenses, and
had hoped to be able to pay it with her Christmas trade. Her landlord,
Mr. Solly, issued a High Court writ, and had now taken possession of the
bars and of her home, and she had got nothing at all. She was not aware
that the licence had gone, and she would definitely have been able to
pay it before the end of the year if Mr. Solly had let her stay there.
Her husband died last year, and she had had to pay ten guineas a week on
The magistrates' Clerk: You took on the premises? - When my husband
died Mr. Solly and Mr. Hebden Phillips told me that the lease
automatically came to me and that I must carry on. Later, I asked for a
reduction in the rent, and Mr. Phillips told me that if I would cancel
he lease they would reduce it. I asked how much they would reduce it.
Mr. Phillips said they would tell me that after I had cancelled the
lease, so I said that I would not do it.
The Chairman: What do you get for the ten guineas? - The bars and the
flat upstairs. Mr. Solly took possession of the bars this morning, and
my home, and I am left with nothing.
The Magistrates' Clerk said that if the landlord took over he would
get the benefit of the excise licence.
Mr. E. Wright said that if the Bench made an order and the licence
was transferred, the proportion of the licence money would have to be
decided between the outgoing tenant and her successor in the business,
but he thought his friend would not mind him saying that if the £31 10s.
3d. was paid that day my Mrs. Selth, or on her behalf, she would be
credited with the value of the licence from that day.
Mr. Hebden Phillips said that was not the position, and asked to be
allowed to explain how things stood.
Defendant said that if she was to transfer the licence, it meant that
she still held it, yet she was charged with serving without a licence.
The Magistrates' Clerk said that charge was for selling without an
excise licence. The transfer referred to the magistrates' licence.
Mr. H. J. Wright, valuer to the licensed trade, said he would like to
explain the position on behalf of he defendant. There would be no money
passing at the transfer. The stock had had to be handed over under the
High Court writ. The rent included the fixtures and fittings, and Mr.
Solly had taken possession of the furniture in the flat.
The Magistrates' Clerk: And this woman has got nothing? - No, sir.
The Magistrates' Clerk said it was manifest if they were taking over
the licence they were getting the benefit of it from then until the end
of the first half of the year. It was rather a said position for the
defendant. She had lost her husband and had carried on for a year.
Supposing the made an order that she should pay up until that day? She
was going out with nothing.
Mr. E. Wright: I should have to accept it.
The Magistrates' Clerk said that if they made an order for the full
amount he did not see where it was coming from.
Mr. Hebden Phillips said he would explain the position, which was
really very simple. He had had to do with the Metropole for a good
number of years, and knew the position immediately. When the late Mr.
Selth first took over the premises he purchased only the unexpired
licence duty and stock-in-trade which amounted to between three and four
hundred pounds. But, whereas previous occupiers of the Metropole had
paid three or four thousand pounds for the lease, Mr. Selth, in fact,
paid nothing for it. Mr. Solly and Mr. Selth made an arrangement whereby
they agreed on a furnished rental and no capital sum was paid for the
lease. Unfortunately, when her husband died, all Mrs. Selth took over
were some debts from him and she struggled hard against adverse
circumstances, and had been unable to meet that liability. If the Court
made an order that day that she should pay the licence duty, she had
used it for three months, and in view of the amount of money she owed
Mr. Solly for dilapidations and rent, she would not be receiving back
from Mr. Solly anything at all. But Mr. Solly was in Court, and would
give an undertaking that if the licence were transferred to him he
would, within an hour, take over and pay off the first half of the
licence from 1st October, and defendant would not have to pay anything
at all, and if defendant could be let off he would be intensely pleased.
They had got possession that morning, and what was done with the
furniture Mrs. Selth had left was entirely Mr. Solly's business. He had
an order for it, but they could rest assured he would treat her
perfectly fairly, and nobody would have a grouse.
Defendant: Has Mr. Solly got an order for my furniture?
Mr. Hebden Phillips said there was an order by default. There was a
big sum owing for dilapidations and for rent, but they desired to be
perfectly fair to Mrs. Selth in all the circumstances, and they would
give an undertaking to pay the licence from the 1st October. She had
agreed in writing to the transfer.
The Magistrates' Clerk: Do you agree to this transfer?
Defendant: Yes, I cannot do anything else.
The Magristrates' Clerk (to Mr. Wright): If the magistrates make no
order on this summons, and agree to the transfer of the licence to Mr.
Solly, will that satisfy you on Mr. Phillips undertaking that the excise
will be paid?
Mr. E. Wright: I am instructed to take for a penalty to cover the
amount so that the money will be paid to you and we shall feel secure.
The Magistrates' Clerk: It seems a very unfortunate position for her.
Mr. E. Wright said that he recognised that, but they would like some
small penalty to mark the case.
The Chairman said there would be a penalty of £32, of which £31 10s.
3d. would be for the excise, so the defendant would have to find 9s. 9d.
Mr. Hebden Phillips: I will pay that/
Defendant: No you won't.
Mr. E. Wright: I will report to my Commissioners that the penalty is
£32, and the licence is to be issued from that £32.
The Chairman: Yes.
The Magistrates' Clerk: The licence is transferred to Mr. Solly.
Mr. Hebden Phillips paid the £31 10s. 3d. into court.
A description of the property in 1962, when it was offered to the highest
bidder with an unexpired lease of twenty five years, gave fifteen flats,
show rooms, offices, bars and a shop. Nobody was attracted. The reserve
price of £14,000 was not reached. Very dilapidated looking as I type this in
March 1990 and to the best of my knowledge awaiting demolition.
Demolition never happened and it has now been bought by J W Wetherspoon and reopened as the "Eight
Bells" in April 1997.
From the Dover Express, 14 September 2006.
New lease of life for historic former hotel.
Above picture shows the place before renovation.
THE first tenants are expected to move
into the refurbished Metropole building in Dover town centre by the end
of this year.
The renovation of the former hotel - which had been empty and derelict
for more than 15 years
- is being highlighted as a good example of what can be done under the
No Use Empty initiative, which aims to bring empty properties back into
The building, in Cannon Street, had become an eyesore, attracting
squatters and vandals.
But due to the efforts of Dover District Council's empty property
officer John Day the dilapidated building has been granted a new lease
The building was purchased with the intention of conversion, but the new
owners were unable to meet the necessary costs required to transform the
large former hotel into new flats.
The council made a significant contribution to meet the renovation
costs and work is currently under way on the property to convert it into
28 one and two-bedroom flats.
The new accommodation will
be managed by a local housing association.
Dover, along with three other district councils in East Kent
- Thanet, Shepway and Swale - has signed up to the No Use Empty campaign,
which is supported by Kent County Council.
Metropole stairs before renovation.
It was launched in November 2005 with the aim of bringing back into use
some of the 9,000 empty properties across the region.
Empty properties can cause significant problems in communities, by
attracting antisocial behaviour, and can devalue surrounding properties.
They are also a waste of a valuable housing resource and deprive people
of a much needed home.
Leaving a property empty is a drain on the financial resources of the
owner and the cost of bringing empty properties back into use is often
less than owners might think.
One of the Metropole rooms after renovation.
From the Dover Mercury, 9 November 2006.
HERITAGE: Conversion into flats preserves historic building.
New lease of life.
A FORMER historic hotel in the heart of Dover has been converted to
flats to rent after a £1.5million urban renewal project.
The former Metropole Hotel, in Cannon Street, has been converted into 29
Built in 1895, the Metropole has had a number of uses over the years,
including a cinema and a bar. The top three storeys had been empty for
more than 15 years until the renovation project, which
was boosted by an Empty Properties Grant of more than £200,000 from
Dover District Council.
The ground floor is used as a pub, the "Eight Bells", and shops, but these
are entirely separate from the flats, which have their own entrance to
The project, by Lillydale Properties and Town and Country Housing Group,
has retained one of Dover's landmark buildings and revitalised the town
centre as a place to live.
Town and Country spokeswoman Wendy Bishop said it was fitting that a
hotel where excited travellers would once spend their last night before
departing for the continent was now providing a place where people could
build their futures.
"The Metropole has enjoyed a very varied existence and the new use is
one which will really benefit the people of the town by providing
quality flats in a very central location,"
said Mrs Bishop.
"Towns should treasure their architectural heritage and this project has
ensured that part of Dover's distinctive past is preserved."
The monthly rents for the one and two bedroom unfurnished flats range
from £350 to £480.
The flats are being marketed through the Accommodation Shop, Dover,
telephone 0845 408 3411 (low call rate).
Notice the painted sign for the Metropole Bars still showing and
advertising Mackinson Stout, above the side entrance. The doorway being
their side door to the bars.
Paul Wells kindly sent me this better photograph of the above painted
sign and says that he "shot up some scaffolding a couple of years ago to
get a better look." So glad he did.
Today the large white doors are the fire exit for the "Eight
Bells" near their toilets.
Above two photos by Paul Skelton, 12 August 2009
MARSH Mr A E to Aug/1901
(Secretary of Company)
MORRIS Mr Wayman John or Joseph Aug/1901+
TERSON Herbert William to June/1905
DEW Frederick Charles June/1905+
BLANCHETTE WaIter Ernest previous to 1907
WORSLEY A 1907
HIGGINS Miss S 1910
SMITH Miss F 1914
DEW 1915 end
WRAIGH Percy George 1915-22
HARLAND B 1916 ?
STEFF H E 1917 ?
GORE James Leonard 1921-23 end
WOOLRIDGE Arthur 1923-Jan/26
SOLLEY Albert Edward Jan/1926-Oct/31
SELTH Thomas James Oct/1931-34
SELTH Mrs Violet Mabel 1934-Jan/36 end
SOLLEY Albert Edward Jan/1936-46 end
RICHARDS B early 1946
SPOONER T W to Jun/1946
PEEK A H Jun/1946-56+
DENNIS Edward George 1953 end ?
WHITE Graham R 1959
WHITE Mrs E 1961
MILLS Harry J 1964-74
Owned by Central Commercial Properties
JEFFERIES Michael and Diane 1974 (Metropole Hotel)
From the Post Office Directory 1922
From Pikes Dover Blue Book 1923
From Pikes Dover Blue Book 1924
From the Post Office Directory 1930
From Pikes Dover Blue Book 1932-33
From the Post Office Directory 1938
From Pikes Dover Blue Book 1938-39
From the Kelly's Directory 1950
From the Kelly's Directory 1953
From the Kelly's Directory 1956
From the Dover Express