Eastbourne’s original water supply was derived from the spring and pond in the village of Motcombe and in 1857 a reservoir was created there. In 1859 the Eastbourne Waterworks Company was founded by the 7th Duke of Devonshire and the enterprise took over the Motcombe reservoir.
The main water supply came from Bedford Well in Eastbourne, however in 1895 complaints were being received that the town’s water tasted brackish. A year later the Eastbourne Waterworks Co. decided to move their operation to the fishing village of Holywell where a pumping station was erected.
Rumours abounded that the local women had sold their cottages to the water company while their husbands were out at sea, but the community was moved for public health reasons since human habitation could not be countenanced on top of a water catchment area.
The Eastbourne Waterworks Co. became Eastbourne Water plc in 1988 and then became part of Mid-Sussex Water plc in 1999.