A CENTURY OF SOUTH DOWNS WATER: WWI MOD support, ice factories, chance discoveries – and one brave taster!

Although the brand as we know it today may be a relative newcomer, our story began over 100 years ago and holds some fascinating snippets of local history. 

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The South Downs Water story began over a century ago when, in 1918, the spring was originally opened to play a vital part in supplying the Ministry of Defence in WWI.  It was subsequently used as an ice factory in 1928 before laying dormant for many years as different businesses used the factory and premises. 

The rediscovery of what is now known as the South Downs Water spring didn’t take place until many decades later when a curious employee of what was by then a family-owned plastics company, who had coincidentally been an apprentice at the ice factory, asked to look for the well.  

A chance discovery

During a tea break one day, the employee sifted through one of the back store rooms until they found the well, with then business-owner Ian Windsor releasing the capping plate and tasting it. Following stringent testing, the South Downs Water spring was found to be one of the finest Natural Mineral Water sources in the UK. 

The artesian spring (that naturally brings water to the surface) draws water from over 400ft underground. It holds the prestigious Natural Mineral Water status because it’s composition is such that it doesn’t need any chemical treatment or processing whatsoever. 

Thanks to the natural chalky filtration system deep within the South Downs, the water is enriched in minerals making it high in calcium and low in sodium with absolutely nothing added or taken away.

With the plastics manufacturing business heading overseas, the decision was made to build a bottling plant on site and the family began to bottle its water on the 7th April 1990.

South Downs Water today

South Downs Water is the Official Water Partner to The Goodwood Estate, its venues and iconic events.
South Downs Water is the Official Water Partner to The Goodwood Estate, its venues and iconic events.

Since 2013, South Downs Water has been independently owned and led by Will Windsor, the son of Ian Windsor. Whilst at the helm, Will has completely relaunched the brand to become the South Downs Water we know and love today reflecting the quality of the water and its provenance. 

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Whilst Will was already a driven businessman in his own right, thanks to years of experience running several businesses, he cites the experience gained helping his father throughout his childhood for his natural business acumen. After a childhood spent helping his father on site, returning to head up South Downs Water was second nature. 

Recognising the need for a local, sustainable Natural Mineral Water, the product range that once focused solely on providing water coolers in Sussex has now expanded to offer glass and 100% recycled plastic bottles of still and sparkling natural mineral water in a broad range of different volumes. 

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Today, South Downs Water supplies hotels, restaurants, bars, pubs, businesses, large scale events and private homes across the south of the UK, Channel Islands and beyond. 

To read more, head to Our Story page.