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The Lord Warden Hotel

The Lord Warden Hotel was opened in September 1853. It was  built by the South Eastern Railway, next door to their Town  Station, to which it was connected by a glazed walkway at first  floor level. It was ideally placed for the cross channel traveller  between the Town Station and the Admiralty Pier, where the  cross-Channel steamers berthed. The hotel was designed by Samuel Beazley (1786-1851),  architect, novelist and playwright. Beazley was the leading  theatre architect of his time and the first notable English expert  in this field. Beazley designed or substantially redesigned seven  London theatres including the Lyceum and the Theatre Royal,  Drury Lane. His non-theatre work included a variety of  commercial, civic and residential commissions; one of his clients  being the South Eastern Railway, for whom he had already  designed the station at London Bridge. The hotel attracted a clientèle from the rich and famous en route to and from the Continent. Charles Dickens was a guest as was  William Makepeace Thackeray. In March 1871 the deposed  Emperor Napoleon III of France arrived to be reunited with his  wife Eugenie here.   The original main entrance was to the north, with a large  projecting portico supported on pairs of columns. Between 1898  and 1907 the whole of the north side of the building was  extended out and the north elevation rebuilt as a side elevation.  After the extension the west entrance, facing the Town Station  became the main entrance. Between the First and Second World Wars the hotel still  attracted a well-heeled travelling clientèle. The Queen Victoria of Spain stayed at the hotel for a night on her way to London in  February 1933.  In the evening the Royal party paid a visit to  the Granada cinema, where they saw the appropriately titled  film, “Grand Hotel”.   The hotel’s celebrated ballroom was much used by local  organisations for annual dinners, dances and other events. During the Second World War it was taken over by the Royal  Navy and known as HMS Wasp. It was the headquarters for the  Coastal Force, made up of motor torpedo boats, motor gun  boats and air-sea rescue craft. This was where the crews were  billeted and the signals section, plotting rooms and offices were  located. The craft themselves were based in the Ferry Dock and  the Camber area of the Harbour. After the war the building was taken over as offices by the  Southern Region of British Rail and renamed Southern House. It  was later used by HM Customs and Excise before being  purchased for use as offices by the shipping line, Stena. In 1999  it was bought by the Dover Harbour Board and refurbished for  use by freight agents in conjunction with new Customs clearance facilities being built nearby. The building was also renamed Lord  Warden House at the same time. The building is Grade II listed and reading the listing document  reveals that some of the internal features of the old hotel still  remain intact.  Amongst other features it mentions that: “The rich interior of the ballroom to the east side of the building  is largely complete, with marble floor, wainscot, Ionic columns  and chimneypieces. Decorative plasterwork on the walls and  ceiling survive.”  
Lord Warden Hotel c.1900.  Viewed from the Admiralty Pier.  The Railway track on the right leads to the Harbour Station and the one on the left to the Town Station. Lord Warden Hotel, Dining Room.  Seen around the time of opening in the 1850s. The Lord Warden Hotel, before 1898.  Showing the original main entrance on the left before the extension was built.  The walkway to the Town station can be seen to the right. The Lord Warden Hotel c.1930.  The extension can be seen on the left (compare with the photo above).  The walkway has been removed and the old west entrance is now the main entrance to the hotel. The Lord Warden Hotel, May 1937.  The hotel is not on fire, the fire brigade is trying out their new ladder.  The old Town Station can be seen on the right. An advert for the Lord Warden Hotel, 1913.  From Bradshaw's Continental Railway Guide 1913.