THE HISTORY OF EAST GRINSTEAD - Online Book

The rise and progress of the town and the history of its institutions & people.

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PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS AND IMPROVEMENTS. 239
Railway sewage and that from a dozen houses near the old station was taken along the line towards Tunbridge Wells until it ultimately disappeared in a cleft in the rocks. There were three other minor sections, all equally primitive and dangerous. Each person disposed of his refuse just as it seemed him best, without reference to any law save that of gravitation.
Things had got so bad by 1853 that on October 27th of that year Mr. C. R. Duplex was appointed Nuisance Inspector, but he was unable to do anything. The first Sewage Authority for the town was appointed on September 18th, 1866, but this also was able to do very little. On June 25th, 1875, a Parochial Committee, consisting of Messrs. W. V. K. Stenning (the first public office he ever held), C. Absalom and T. Cramp, were appointed to act in conjunction with the Board of Guardians in carrying out a drainage system for the town, which was by this time in a fearful condition. The hollow in the fork formed by the junction of Ship and West Streets was nothing but a large pond of reeking sewage; the whole of the Swan Mead, where Queen's Road and Glen Vue now stand, was merely a receptacle for filth ; while on the other side of the town the Moat fields were in almost as bad a condition and typhoid fever was rampant. The Committee first endeavoured to get land for a sewage farm in the valley between East Grinstead and Forest Row, but the opposition was so powerful that they were compelled to look elsewhere, and eventually the present site of 30 acres in the parish of Lingfield was purchased. Five loans, altogether amounting to 13,000, were raised during 1879, and necessary extensions caused a further expenditure of 2,630 before the end of 1882. The pumping engine was fixed in May, 1879, and the bulk of the connections were made with the farm during 1880. The broad irrigation system of treatment was continued most efficiently until 1903, when the bacteria system was introduced with even more satisfactory results.
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