In 1994 Francis Watts was helping his wife, Anne, at the soup kitchen in Dover.
A conversation developed between Francis and a gentleman about what he thought was needed in Dover. The reply came, ‘We all have our hideaways, but we are bored to tears during the day’. The idea of creating an Emmaus community in Dover was born.
One option was the site on Archcliffe Fort, even though the fort was in a derelict state. All the buildings needed work doing to them. Building work aside, the fort seemed to have everything needed for a community: substantial room for accommodation, buildings adequate for retail and workshop purposes, ample car parking and stunning views!
After successful meetings with English Heritage, who owned the property, Francis secured the site for Emmaus Dover on a peppercorn rent for 99 years.
Over the winter months of 1995, work was carried out on the two modern houses to make them habitable.
On 12 September 1996, the first of our companions moved in.