Inspired by Magnus Volk

Photo:Magnus Volk

Magnus Volk

Project with local schoolchildren, 2014

Magnus Volk has been the inspiration for a flagship project led by Heritage Learning Brighton & Hove whereby young engineers from five local primary schools are busy inventing new forms of transport to get from Brighton to Rottingdean. Their designs will go on display in Brighton Museum during the weekend of 22nd -23rd November 2014.

A partnership

Heritage Learning Brighton & Hove joins together heritage organisations across the city to offer schools a comprehensive choice of experiences for their pupils. It is a partnership of the Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton Toy & Model Museum, The Keep, West Pier Trust, The Fishing Museum, Old Police Cells Museum, The Volks Railway, Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival Ltd, Whitehawk Air Raid Shelter, and Friends of St Peters at Preston Park.

Support for the children in school

During the project the children are being supported in school by a range of local experts including STEM Sussex, The Keep and the occasional email from ‘Magnus’. They are also visiting the Brighton Toy & Model Museum in Trafalgar Street and the Volk’s Electric Railway.

Celebratory Day on 21st November 2014

The project ends with a Celebratory Day on Friday 21st November when the children will present their models and receive ‘graduation’ certificates from BBC broadcaster Nicholas Owen and Janita Bagshawe, Director of the Royal Pavilion & Museums.

Magnus Volk

Magnus Volk, the inspiration for this project, has been described as ‘eccentric, eclectic and electric – Brighton’s bright spark!’. He was an innovative engineer born in Brighton in 1851 and his name is forever linked with Volk’s Electric Railway, opened in 1883, which is the oldest operating electric railway in the world. The railway still ferries passengers along the seafront from Black Rock, near the Marina, to the Pier each summer.

His other achievements

Magnus also established the first telephone exchange for the city at Brighton Town Hall in 1879, installed the first audio device into the Dome in 1881, introduced electric light into the Royal Pavilion in 1883, and provided a hydraulically operated ball, complete with moving decorative globe, for the Clock Tower in 1887. His most fantastic engineering feat was built in 1896 - the ‘Daddy long legs’, a carriage on stilts designed to carry passengers along the coast from Brighton to Rottingdean. Magnus Volk died in 1937 and was buried at St Wulfran’s in Ovingdean.

A hugely influential figure

Magnus Volk remains a hugely influential figure for the city and is bought back to life to celebrate this uniquely exciting and innovative project involving local children.


[Previously published in the North Laine Runner, No 230, September/October 2014]

This page was added on 09/10/2014.

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