Dover is a town and major ferry port in the home county of Kent, in South East England. It faces France across the strait of Dover, the narrowest part of the English Channel, and lies south-east of Canterbury; east of Kent’s county town Maidstone; and north-east along the coastline from Dungeness and Hastings.
The town is the administrative centre of the Dover District and home of the Dover Calais ferry through the Port of Dover.
The surrounding chalk cliffs are known as the White Cliffs of Dover. Its strategic position has been evident throughout its history: archaeological finds have revealed that the area has always been a focus for peoples entering and leaving Britain. The name of the town derives from the name of the river that flows through it, the River Dour.
The town has been inhabited since the Stone Age according to archaeological finds, and Dover is one of only a few places in Britain – London, Edinburgh, and Cornwall being other examples – to have a corresponding name in the French language, Douvres. There was a military barracks in Dover, which was closed in 2007. Although many of the former ferry services have declined, services related to the Port of Dover provide a great deal of the town’s employment, as does tourism.
The prospect of privatising the sale of the Port of Dover to create increased cash flow for the government was given a recent ironic twist due to the rejection of a possible bid from the town of Calais in France after opposition in Dover against any sale forced the government to withdraw the Port from the market. Local residents had clubbed together to propose buying it for the community, more than 12,000 people have bought a £10 share in the People’s Port Trust.