Magnus Volk

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A proof of concept model of the Daddy Long Legs built by Magnus Volk himself.
The Volk's Electric Railway still bears Magnus Volks name

Magnus Volk (1851–1937) was a pioneer British electrical engineer.

He is most notable for having built Volk's Electric Railway, the world's oldest extant electric railway.[1] He also built the unique, but short lived, Brighton and Rottingdean Seashore Electric Railway, together with its unusual Daddy Long Legs vehicle.[2] He also built another, short-lived line, similar to the VER, in the pleasure grounds at Aston Hall, Birmingham.[1]

In 1887 he attracted attention in Brighton by building a three-wheeled electric carriage powered by an Immisch motor. In 1888 he built another electric car, this time a four-wheeled carriage which was made to the order of the Sultan of Turkey.[3]

Magnus Volk was the son of a German clockmaker and was born on 19 October 1851 in Brighton. He lived at 38 Dyke Road in Brighton. On 8 April 1879, he married Anna Banfield in Burgess Hill. George Herbert Volk, his second son, is noted as a pioneer builder of seaplanes, whilst another son, Conrad Volk, wrote a biography of his father.[4] His Great Grandson is the musician Joe Volk.

Magnus Volk died in Brighton on 20 May 1937, and is buried at St Wulfran's churchyard in Ovingdean near Brighton.[5]


  1. ^ a b Jackson, Alan (1993). Volk's Railways Brighton. Plateway Press. ISBN 1 871980 18 6. 
  2. ^ See Lee, Charles E., "Magnus Volk and His Railways," The Railway Magazine (UK), April 1942, at 116-17.
  3. ^ Georgano, G.N. Cars: Early and Vintage, 1886-1930. (London: Grange-Universal, 1985).
  4. ^ Volk, Conrad. Magnus Volk of Brighton. (London: Phillimore, 1971).
  5. ^ Dale, Antony (1989). Brighton Churches. London EC4: Routledge. p. 207. ISBN 0-415-00863-8. 


  • Conrad Volk: Magnus Volk of Brighton. London & Chichester: Phillimore, 1971.

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