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Portal House ( previously Morley House and Marine House)

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Portal House is one of the oldest buildings in the village. Current research on its origins suggests that it may have been built as a private house called Marine House as early as 1792.


By at least 1840 it was a boarding school for girls, run by the Temple family who were already the owners of a private boarding school for boys in the village, Cliffe House School ( now Cliffe House and The White Cliffs Hotel).


In 1883 it became ' a Seaside Convalescent Home for Working Men' with beds for 30 men. It was opened by Mr S Morley MP and was renamed Morley House after him. It was funded by a mixture of payments from the inmates ( five shillings a week in 1883), funds raised by the London Hospital Saturday Fund and voluntary contributions from London working men and their employers. 


An extension, the Caxton Wing, was added in 1891 and a further wing, the Queen Victoria Wing, was opened in 1898 by the Lord Chancellor.  Eventually it could house 150 men.


In 1899 a local Temperance newspaper 'The Dover Sentinel' caused a scandal when it accused the Management Committee of allowing inmates to get drunk and out of control. The Management Committee took the matter to court and won their case for libel against the Editor of the paper.


However, by 1909 the Home had fallen into financial difficulties and closed.


During WW1 it became a convalescent home for wounded soldiers and provided a billet for the 6th Royal Fusiliers. 


In 1919 the home was purchased by the National Deposit Friendly Society and in 1920 after extensive refurbishment it once again became a convalescent home.


It had 4 acres of kitchen garden 'a splendid recreation room and a fine dining room capable of seating 150 guests' and was renamed 'Portal House' after Canon Portal, the founder of the Society.


During WW2 it housed men from the Royal Marines.


After the War, in 1957, Kent County Council purchased the buildings and land for £12,000 and after carrying out substantial refurbishment at a cost of £34,000 re-opened it as a home for the elderly, which closed in 1975.


In 1977 it became a school .


In 2014 it was proposed by KCC to demolish the building and build a new school.After concerns were expressed by local residents it has been agreed to preserve the older part of the building in the design.

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