Blue Plaque at Castle Hill, Dover

Dover boasts a wealth of historical buildings, ranging from its famous castle to less well-known but no less significant structures that have all contributed to building the town’s rich history.

 

In September of this year, the Dover Society awarded Castle Hill House a blue plaque to commemorate its place in Dover’s past and for its notable residents. The house, which dates back to the 18th century, is a Grade II Listed Property, and has been home to many important political presences during its existence. It was built by the Stringer family in 1760, and in 1782, Phineas Stringer, a wine merchant who owned a wine vault below Dover Castle, was elected Mayor of Dover. His son, George Stringer, inherited the property and also became Mayor like his father. In 1822 George Stringer sold the house to John Jenken, also Mayor of Dover as well as master of the town’s almhouses. From here the house changed owners a few times, but in 1832 it passed back into the hands of local government when it was purchased by Sir Edward Knocker.

 

Sir Edward Knocker was another Mayor of Dover who also became Town Clerk. The Knocker family became notable for having three successive generations of town clerks – Sir Edward Knocker, his son Edward Wollaston Knocker, and grandson Reginald Knocker, who retired in 1935.

 

Castle Hill House was also home to a Member of Parliament, Lord John Jacob Astor of Hever, who was MP for Dover between 1922 and 1945.

 

As well as housing individuals, Castle Hill House has also served as the headquarters of the Conservative party, the office of the Labour party, a finance group, and a social drinking club. Nowadays the house has stepped away from its presence as political hub and is now a private residence.

 

At the unveiling ceremony, the plaque was revealed by Dover’s current town clerk, Allison Burton, in a nice nod to the building’s historical connections with the council. The Dover Society is the organisation in charge of awarding the blue plaques, and on this important day, the Society’s leading member, former immigration officer, Martyn Webster, gave a short talk about the Knocker family of clerks and the history of Castle Hill House. This is the seventeenth plaque installed by the Dover Society to commemorate famous people and places within the town.

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