The Downs


The Downs

The Downs are a roadstead or area of sea in the southern North Sea near the English Channel off the east Kent coast, between the North and the South Foreland in southern England. In 1639 the Battle of the Downs took place here, when the Dutch navy destroyed a Spanish fleet which had sought refuge in neutral English waters. From Elizabethan times, the presence of Downs helped to make Deal one of the premier ports in England, and in the 18th century, it was equipped with its own telegraph and timeball tower to enable ships to set their marine chronometers.

Timeball Tower, Deal, Kent

The anchorage has depths down to 12 fathoms (22 m).[1] Even during southerly gales some shelter was afforded, though under this condition wrecks were not infrequent. Storms from any direction could also drive ships onto the shore or onto the sands, which — in spite of providing the sheltered water — were constantly shifting, and not always adequately marked. The Downs served in the age of sail as a permanent base for warships patrolling the North Sea[2] and a gathering point for refitted or newly-built ships coming out of Chatham Dockyard, such as HMS Bellerophon, and formed a safe anchorage during heavy weather, protected on the east by the Goodwin Sands and on the north and west by the coast. The Downs also lie between the Strait of Dover and the Thames Estuary, so both merchant ships awaiting an easterly wind to take them into the English Channel and those going up to London gathered there, often for quite long periods. According to the Deal Maritime Museum and other sources, there are records of as many as 800 sailing ships at anchor at one time.[3]

In the present day, with the English Channel still the busiest shipping lane in the world, cross-Channel ferries and other ships still seek shelter here.

References

  1. ^ The United Kingdom Hydrographic Office Goodwin Sands/South Sand Head Assessment GS1/2006 (http://www.ukho.gov.uk/AboutUs/Documents/2006/2006%20GS1%20South%20Sand%20Head.pdf)
  2. ^ Robson, Martin (2005) The Battle of Trafalgar, Conway Maritime Press. p. 29, 36, 158 ISBN 0-85177-979-4
  3. ^ Kingsdown and Ringwould: A History and Guide Third Edition, Edited by David Harding, Kingsdown and Ringwould Twinning Society (1999) pp 61-64

External links

Coordinates: 51°11′08″N 1°29′23″E / 51.1856°N 1.4897°E / 51.1856; 1.4897



Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • The Downs —   [ȓə daʊnz] Plural, Kreidekalkschichtstufen südlich der Themse in England. Der nördliche, sich London nähernde Bogen der North Downs erreicht im Leith Hill 294 m Höhe und bricht mit den Kliffen von Dover Folkestone ins Meer ab. Er hängt im… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • The Downs — Als The Downs wird ein Seegebiet im Bereich des Ärmelkanals zwischen den Goodwin Sands und dem östlichen Kent an der Mündung der Nordsee in den Ärmelkanal bezeichnet. Die Downs sind den Städten Deal und Ramsgate vorgelagert. Sie werden von Westen …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • The Downs —    see White Downs …   J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth glossary

  • The Downs School — may refer to: The Downs School (Berkshire), a comprehensive school in Compton, Berkshire, England The Downs School (Bristol), a preparatory school in Bristol, England The Downs School (Herefordshire), prep school in Colwall, Herefordshire. The… …   Wikipedia

  • The Ups and The Downs — is the debut album by recording artist and actress Sara Paxton.Confirmed TracksHere We Go Again (the first single released) Kiss Me Like You Mean It Temporary …   Wikipedia

  • The Downs (Bristol) — Infobox park park=The Downs image size=275px caption=This tower on the Downs conceals a ventilation shaft for the railway tunnel below type=public park location=Bristol, England coordinates=N51:28 W2:37 size=400 acre opened= operator= annual… …   Wikipedia

  • The Downs School (Herefordshire) — For the comprehensive school in Compton, Berkshire, see The Downs School (Berkshire). The Downs, Malvern College Preparatory School Motto Aedificandum est (It must be built) Established 1900 Type Private preparatory school Religion Christian, ex… …   Wikipedia

  • The Downs School (Berkshire) — Infobox UK school name = The Downs School size = latitude = longitude = dms = motto = motto pl = established = approx = closed = c approx = type = Comprehensive foundation school religion = Secular president = head label = head = Valerie Houldey… …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of the Downs — Infobox Military Conflict conflict=Battle of the Downs partof=the Eighty Years War caption= Before the Battle of the Downs by Reinier Nooms, circa 1639, depicting the Dutch blockade off the English coast, the vessel shown is the Aemilia , Tromp s …   Wikipedia

  • Up on the Downs — Infobox Album | Name = Up On The Downs Type = Album Artist = Rob Smith Released = 27 October, 2003 Recorded = ??? Genre = Electronica / Hip Hop / Dub Length = 58:22 Label = Grand Central Records GCCD123 Producer = ? Reviews = *Allmusic Rating|4|5 …   Wikipedia


We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.