Dover Kent UK

History of Dover Garages


Frank Sneller

Frank Olave/Olive Sneller b1854-d1900 - Frank was living at 16 Tower Hamlets rd, in his early working life he worked as a labourer at the oil mill in Limekiln st.

It is thought that the beginning of the business started with Frank, in reality it may have started even earlier with his elder brother Robert, but nothing is known about that.

His business ventures included, General Carrier, Horse Bus Proprietor and a Publican at the Friend in Need, Peter st.

The dates of the transport element of the business  vague, but in 1887 he was listed as Bus Proprietor, Friend In Need, Peter st.

General carriage was being carried out within Dover, but also within the wider area of East Kent.  An example of general carriage can be seen from this report of 1889. 

From 1890 Pikes directory

The Omnibus Accounts Book from the 1880s


The horse bus in the photo below was believed to be one sold by Frank some time in 1880s.  It is thought that the Horse Bus business may have lasted until around the trams started in 1897.

At an undetermined date the corner plot of De Burgh and Tower Hamlets rd was being used as stabling and storage.  This was the site of an older slaughter house, shop and cottage.

Frank died on 5th January 1900 aged 46, following his death his sons, who were already working within the business, carried on the business as Sneller Bros.  It should be noted that there were also two daughters but it is unclear what part, if any, they took in the business.

Sneller Bros - 1900-1906

Brothers, Arthur Sneller b1880-d1906 and Percy William Sneller b1881-d1942.

By this time the brothers were only running the general carriage side of the business, the omnibus would have ceased around the same time that the trams started.

This photo outside Buckland Mill circa 1905, shows the name on this cart as "Frank Sneller Carrier Dover, however the photo looks to have been edited/touched up, identified as circa 1905 by Graham Sneller, as the tram lines are not going up Crabble Hill.

Arthur Sneller died on 14 January 1906, his bother Percy carried on the business using the new name of P. W. Sneller.

P. W. Sneller 1906-1942

PW Sneller

In 1915 Sneller tended for the street watering and carting contract, in the same year there was also a contract for horse Haulage and Tram work.

1916  Sneller was carting materials for the military and railway, as can be seen from his exemption notice of 5 May 1916.

another example of carting from 1917.

In or about 1927/8 the first lorries were purchased, these lorries would not have been much bigger than a "transit van" they were garaged at the De Burgh site, this was as well as the horses already there.

In 1932 the contract to hire refuse collection vehicles was won and this meant that Sneller had an increase in the fleet by five vehicles , to begin with only four of the vehicles were used, but by mid 1934 the fifth one was being used as part of the refuse contract. 

With the increase of vehicles it was necessary to find addition storage for these new vehicles, and so a garage was sought.  The site of the old "Steam Laundry" (owned by Mr F G Harvey) in Tower st was available, and a 15 year lease was secured.  This notice (below) shows that Castle Concrete were active at this site in 1936, it is unsure if this was a shared area with Sneller.... However it is thought that they had to move out by 1939 when the "Dover Corporation Tower Mortuary" were at the same site.

This photo shows just one of the vehicles used by Sneller, it was Bedford WLG t ton, these vehicles were supplied & maintained by Tapley.

In this photo below from the 1930s, showing work being carried out on Folkestone rd, you can just about make out one of Sneller's vehicles.


During WW2 Percy was a Constable in the Police War Reserve, he died from enemy action in Dover on 23rd March 1942.  It was following Percy's death that the "P. W. Sneller Ltd" company was formed.

P. W. Sneller Ltd - 1942-1980

Harold William Sneller b1917-d2005

In 1942, when Percy died, a manager took over the day to day running of the business.  In 1946 when Harold, Percy's son, came out of the army and he took over as head of the company (Managing Director).

One of the novel uses of a Sneller truck was in this stunt to drive over a Polish? strongman.

1947 Cherry Tree Garage - HW Sneller refers to Beach Bros being on the site before they (Sneller) were able to purchase the rented site shortly after WW2.  It can only be assumed that this article from 4 July 1930 (below) refers to the same site.

In 1949 an application was successfully made by Sneller for the change of use of 20 Tower Hamlets Rd from shop/living accommodation to offices

In January 1950 the contract with the council for waste collection ceased

It was circa 1950 that horses were last used as part of the business, this was when the last driver retired. 

Other activities of the business included being a sand & ballast merchant, general haulage, ground clearance, coal deliveries..... in fact probably anything that his vehicles could be used for.  Some of these activities can be seen in the photos below.

Two of the Sneller trucks that look to be at one of the pits.

The photo below shows Sneller vehicles, this was taken in the 1950s on the first day of work clearing the ground for the Gateway Flats.

From the 1950s showing work taking place at the seafront.

This photo below from 1966 shows Sneller working with Mears Bros at the Danes, the chalk was being moved to the Eastern Docks for infill.

1967 a new Bedford at the Cherry Tree Garage.

1967 H. W. Sneller with a new Leyland Super Comet at the Cherry Tree site.

From the late 1960s Sneller were not only maintaining their own vehicles, but also had a breakdown, tow and maintenance service as a commercial operation on customers "commercial" vehicles

The photo below is the yard at the De Burgh 1971, this site was closed in 1972 when a new workshop and office was built at Cherry tree and all operations were from the one site.

1971 The bricks ready to build the new workshop under development at cherry tree..... and the workshop being used circa 1974.

The fuel had been kept at both sites, this was only for use on their own trucks, up until 1950 it was petrol and beyond 1950s it was diesel.  They also ran a commercial paraffin round in the cold months, they had one small tanker for this.

1974 at the admiralty pier

With a declining haulage business, by December 1976 all but one lorry had been sold, the one that was kept was the lorry that Jack Green used to drive, this was used for mainly for ballast.

At it's height, P. W Sneller Ltd owned and ran at least 20 lorries, each had their own driver, casual drivers were also employed.

In 1979 P. W. Sneller wound up its operation and by 1980 the business ceased.  The company and site was put up for sale and was purchased by K. A. P. Ltd. - see cherry tree