Tilmanstone Colliery to Dover Harbour Aerial Ropeway

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Customer ratings for Tilmanstone Colliery to Dover Harbour Aerial Ropeway

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from on 21/06/2023
Aerial ropeways are now very much a thing of the past like much of the heavy industry they once served. I only know of one still operating in the British Isles today. Although that of Blackhall Colliery which featured nice and bleakly in Get Carter! has immortalised these once common systems.

Much fascinating industrial heritage has vanished undocumented and many a ropeway. Therefore Colin Varrall is to be commended for ensuring that the Tilmanstone ropeway does not become forgotten.

As recorded in this slim but well researched and illustrated volume the ropeway had only a short and under fulfilling life. Built between the wars it was designed to speed the delivery of coal for export via Dover docks delivering a constant procession tubs of coal from Tilmanstone Colliery to a giant holding bunker on the Dover dockside. Sadly the system appears never to have operated to full capacity and its 7 miles of painstakingly constructed pylons sat idle through WWII and never recovered. By the mid 1950s the demolition men had moved in.

A lot of detail has been recovered and reproduced here, from early discussions about the need for the system, details of the construction costs, records of the social impact and finally the systems demise. There are some interesting photographs from the ropeways short life and related documentation. there is also a section on traces that remain of the system, these are few and far between and to the average observer would probably go unnoticed. I was only aware that the system had ever existed after becoming curious about the bricked up tunnel mouths in the cliffs above Dover Harbour.

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