576: Peter and Julie Burville: The White Cliffs of Dover

This book arises from research carried out by the authors as volunteer workers at Dover Museum. The white cliff of Dover, a symbol of England world-wide, are made of chalk, a soft limestone, studded with horizontal bands of flint. Chalk was formed from the sedimentary remains of planktonic algae and other marine debris such as the shells of molluscs. Man, as well as nature, has sculptured Dover’s famous white walls. Fortunately, all is not lost. Paintings, sketches, engravings and early photographs from Dover collections provide a fascinating record of the changing cliffs through time.

“The benefits of cave-dwelling .. were offset by the proximity of the encroaching sea.”

“The White Cliffs of Dover” is written by Peter and Julie Burville. This second edition is published by Triangle Publication in 2003.

The book was donated by Deborah Beddow and her mother Diane from UK. Both visited the Sea Library in person and gave the signed book alongside a pinch of sea salt from Suffolk and an added handwritten note. It shows that Debbie’s and Diane’s ancestors were cave-dwellers in the 19th century. Including “Widow Ann Claw” who is mentioned in the book: “The danger of navigating the eroding and unfenced paths is recorded in the Dover Express in 30th of June 1871: ‘…a small piece of road had given way’ causing Widow Ann Claw to fall to her death ‘down a cliff, a distance of about 65 feet’.” Her elder son William stated that his mother was returning home ‘to the cave where she had lived for 12 years.’ Her younger son Andrews, a fisherman, continued to live in the cave after his mother’s death. Andrews was Diane’s great-grandfather. I was grateful to meet Debbie and Diane! ❤️

Photos by Anna Iltnere / Sea Library

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