Sunday, 10 February 2013

Magnus Volk and His Amazing Railways

On Saturday the 2nd of February we were lucky to host Ian Gledhill, who came to talk about the inventor and entrepreneur, Magnus Volk. Ian, being a wonderful story teller and a knowledge-bank on the life of Magnus Volk, dedicated almost 2 hours telling glorious stories of the engineer, keeping the audience mesmerised. Magnus Volk is most famous for the Volk’s Electric Railway, which runs to this day along Brighton seafront. The gifted engineer brought many innovations to Brighton and showed great determination to stand up against the opposition in his time to bring his vision to the people.

Brighton and Rottigdean Railway
 (Daddy Long Legs) Model

Volk was the first person in Brighton to have a telephone, the first to have electricity in his house and was even titled as an "electrician" on his marriage certificate, long before electricity even came to Brighton.

A few people were lucky to enjoy this experience. The Museum is keen for more people to hear the story about a man of such merit, whose contributions to science and history extend beyond just Brighton.

Ironically, most of Volk's struggle in his quest to innovate and expand came not from technical challenges, but barriers placed by the Brighton Council of the day! Eventually, his achievements were recognised and the Council took upon themselves to keep his work alive.

With the help of projector and his oratory, Ian not only told us the story of this prominent inventor but also entertained us with his sense of humor. At the end of the story, he unraveled a big surprise to the audience, a scale model of Daddy Long Legs made by Volk himself before he built the real railway, about 130 years ago. Everyone took out their cameras to capture this relic from the past.

Ian Gledhill giving the talk

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