Famous inventor

Magnus Volk's plaque
Photo by Tony Mould
128, Dyke Road
Photo by Tony Mould

Magnus Volk was born in 1851 at 35, Western Road, Brighton.  He was the son of a German clockmaker.  An eccentric inventor, Volk was a pioneer of the early of use of electricity.  He brought the first telephone service to Brighton in 1879 and fitted his home in Preston Road with electicity in 1880.

In 1883 Volk opened his famous seafront railway which was a terrific success.  It still runs today between the Aquarium and Black Rock.  Perhaps his most remarkable invention was the so called ‘Daddy Long Legs’.  This was a railway that ran with its rails in the sea between Brighton and Rottingdean.

Magnus Volk died in 1937 and is buried in St. Wulfran’s churchyard in Ovingdean.

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  • I trust that the editors ofthe Stanford Road School Centenary booklet (published 1994) will not object if I quote two contributions from former pupils about Magnus Volk.
    “Mr. Volk was a lovely old gentleman who always used to wear a frock-coat and Churchill type hat as well as sporting a white goatee beard. He always used to enter the school via the Coventry Street entrance and as soon as he appeared (during playtime) the children would rush up to greet him and grab his hand. Apart from having a charming visitor who was obviously very fond of children, there was another bonus when he showed up. He would leave rolls of tickets to enable each child to have at least one free ride on the railway he invented.” [Keith Tuppen, b. 1923.]
    “Christmas parties at school were provided by the generosity of Mr. Magnus Volk, the inventor and pioneer in electricity, whose house in Dyke Road (No 38, renumbered 128) I can still remember.” [Percy Upton, at school 1932-35.]

    By Brian Dungate (07/04/2010)

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