Tales from the Frontline

  • Photography and Text  Joe Pettet-Smith


Dover is a place in between places, a town that everyone has a connection to but is visited in order to go elsewhere. It’s the Frontline of Europe, the last pit stop before crossing the channel and likewise, the Gateway to Britain for those visiting the UK. It is undergoing a transitional phase, the St James Street regeneration, a major retail development promises an aspirational future but has been in the planning stage for over a decade. The port is next in line for redevelopment but as it is co-financed by the European Union it’s go-ahead hangs on how the country votes on the 23rd. The local population, who refer to themselves as Dovorians are a proud community. Despite the influx of people going in to go out they seem cautious of outsiders, having a camera around my neck was met with suspicion by some. Lampposts and walls are scrawled with messages that are either in support of migration or strongly against. The population of Dover, like the population of the UK as a whole are unsure about the future of the country after the Referendum. I think that is why I felt compelled to make work their in the first place, to try and make sense of the situation. Politicians have clouded the debate with misinformation; in search of answers to some of the questions raised I wanted to speak to the people of Dover to see how they felt about the Referendum and what it is like to live in a town that everyone has heard of but is only truly known by the people who live there.


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