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From the bottom of the Warren Farm Well

This is a legacy story from an earlier version of our website. It may contain some formatting issues and broken links.

On 25 March 1858 work began on a new water well at the Warren Farm Industrial School in Woodingdean.

It took four years of digging before workers found water. By this time they had created the deepest hand dug well in the world, descending over 390 meters beneath the surface.

The remarkable story of the well is told on the Museum Crush website. Here we’ll take a look at some of the artefacts that remain from the well.

What lies beneath?

The ‘last green sand’ dug from the well was collected in a small phial.

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A similar phial was used to capture some of the first water drawn from the well.

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Celebrating the achievement

The well was celebrated as a miracle of Victorian engineering. A commemorative medal was struck and presented to Edgar Willett, the son of one of the founders of Brighton Museum.

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A cheaper form of souvenir was provided in the form of inscribed shells such as the one below.

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Although the surveyor is named on the shell, the names of the workers who toiled so deep beneath the earth are sadly unrecorded.

Modern inspiration

In 2012 the story of the Warren Farm well helped inspire artist David Miles to create an exhibition in Brighton Museum, The Hole in Mount Hakone.

A companion video to the exhibition was created with a story by author Mick Jackson.

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