With the rapid growth of Hastings during the 19th century in two adjacent valleys - the Priory Stream valley and the valley which opened onto Warrior Square, with Burton's new town slightly to the west, the town required a coherent drainage scheme.
In typical Victorian style grand plans were drawn up by the newly appointed town surveyor William Gant, although there were a number of disputes arising from this - mainly to do with remuneration, and the plan swung into action.
Laying of first stone
On Saturday, the 13th of September 1856, when the Mayor, Town Clerk, Surveyor, contractor, most of the Town Council and a large number of townspeople collected at the East Well, where the ceremony was performed amidst the flaunting of flags and the booming of cannon. Refreshments were provided in a building close by which was originally intended for a steam mill. Some current coins were placed in a bottle which was put into the stone, there to be laid, together with a scroll bearing the words:-
The first stone of the drainage of Hastings was laid by Frederick Ticehurst, Esq., Mayor, on the 13th of September, 1856; John Laing, C. E. surveyor, George Munday, contractor, William Winter, Inspector.