Past and Present


In September 2006 Nigel Thornton joined the team and started compiling his hugely popular ‘Past and Present‘ features on this website. His features profile the timeline of an individual vessel through photography and historical information. Originally focused on the history of the local ferry fleets which have served the Port of Dover over the years it has now been expanded to include all vessel types which have a connection with the town and ships connected to our recent travels.

Related Posts

Roy Thornton Collection

TS Lord Warden – Past and Present

TS Al Zaher, ex Lord Warden – Steel twin screw turbine steamer, built and engined by Dennys of Dumbarton in 1952 (Yard No 1455) for the British Transport Commission’s cross-Channel fleet, and intended for running between the new car ferry terminals at Dover and Boulogne.

Roy Thornton Collection

TS Normannia – Past and Present

TS Normannia – Steel twin screw turbine ship steamer, built and engined by Denny’s of Dumbarton (Yard No 1454) for the British Transports Commission’s Southampton – Le Havre route in 1952

MV Saint Germain - Past and Present

MV Saint Germain – Past and Present

MV Saint Germain – Steel twin screw motor vessel, built and engined by Helsingør Skibsværft og Maskinbyggeri A/S Helsingor, Denmark, (Yard No 303), for the Société Nationale des Chemins de fer Français (SNCF) in 1951.

© Nigel Thornton

MV Seafrance Renoir – Past and Present

MV Seafrance Renoir, ex Cote D’Azur – Steel twin screw motor vessel built in 1981 by Ateliers et Chantiers du Havre (Yard No. 256), Le Havre, France, for Societe des Nationale des Chemins de fer Frances (SNCF)

© A G Jones

TS Shepperton Ferry – Past and Present

TS Shepperton Ferry – Steel twin screw turbine steamer, one of three identical stern-loading railway ferry boats ordered by the Southern Railway in 1933 for their intended new Dover-Dunkirk ferry service. Built by Messrs. Swan, Hunter and Wigham Richardson Ltd., Walker-on-Tyne (Yard No. 1450), and engined by Parsons Marine Steam Turbine Co. Ltd.

Courtesy of Michael Woodland

TS Hampton Ferry – Past and Present

TS Tre-Arddur, ex Hampton Ferry, HMS Hampton – Steel twin screw turbine steamer, one of three identical stern-loading train ferries ordered by the Southern Railway in 1933. Built by Messrs. Swan, Hunter and Wigham Richardson Ltd, Walker-on-Tyne (Yard No. 1448), and engined by Parsons Marine Steam Turbine Co. Ltd.

TS Twickenham Ferry - Past and Present

TS Twickenham Ferry – Past and Present

TS Twickenham Ferry – Steel twin screw turbine steamer, one of three identical stern-loading railway ferry boats ordered by the Southern Railway in 1933 for their intended new Dover-Dunkirk ferry service. Built by Messrs. Swan, Hunter and Wigham Richardson Ltd., Walker-on-Tyne (Yard No. 1446).

Dover Eastern Docks - The Advent of Drive on Drive Off (1952-53)

Dover Eastern Docks – The Advent of Drive on Drive Off (1952-53)

It is probably hard to believe that it is now over sixty years since motorists were first able to drive their cars directly on and off the ships at the Port of Dover. We often take it for granted that we can drive into the port and drive directly on to our ship with the whole process taking a matter of minutes. Prior to this people taking their cars across the Channel watched from the quayside as their cars were crane loaded as cargo into the ship’s hold as they boarded the ship on foot via the gangway.

The Dover Train Ferry Dock 1936-1988

The Dover Train Ferry Dock 1936-1988

In 1933 Southern Railway undertook to order three new train ferries and to construct a train ferry dock at Dover. It was agreed that a site, lying between the South Pier and the base of the Admiralty Pier, would be suitable.

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