Volk's Electric Railway
- Contextual Information
- ID no. 7216
- Accession no. SE 070321
|Production||B. C. Suter|
|Summary||An eleven minute documentary on the Volk's Electric Railway, produced by B. C. Suter, an amateur filmmaker who enjoyed filming on Brighton Seafront between the Palace Pier and Marina.|
|Description||Commentary begins over the title 'Volk's Electric Railway'; 'This is the story of a little electric railway, built by a Brighton man with undaunted enthusiasm, sometimes despite great adversity. Magnes Volk, the son of a clock maker, was born in Brighton in 1851, and from an early age was interested in things mechanical.' A Volk's Railway train moves slowly along the beach at East Brighton, sound recorded at the scene is also included. Music plays over the commentary. The railway line is seen from the Palace Pier. Madeira Drive and Kemptown Seafront are seen above. 'He equipped his house with the first electric light system in Brighton, and in 1883 installed electric light in the Royal Pavilion.' Amusements at the beach, including a big wheel and slide, are shown in panning footage. The Marina and large cranes are in view behind. Suter describes the gradual extension of the line over a period of years. The train, running at dusk, is seen, silhouetted against a pink sky, the driver standing at the front.
Passengers get onto the electric car at the Aquarium Station. The driver turns to check everyone has climbed on before driving forward. The cars were built between 1892 and 1926, Suter informs. A sign at a pedestrian crossing, one of thirteen giving access to the beach, reads Red Beware: Train Approaches'. A car moves towards the camera. Footage taken from the front of a moving car follows. A passing loop is approached. The front of the car reads '100 Years: 1883 - 1983' as it moves towards the camera. The driver wears an orange waterproof coat, prepared for all weather conditions while working on the open sided cars. A moving pattern defines the next part of the film, a trip down to the Marina.
The driver climbs on to the car and it pulls away from the platform, 'Next stop Peter Pan's Playground.' The electric lift, also built by Volk, is close by. A sign details prices for single adult and child fares to the Marina and Undercliff Walk, and the Aquarium and Palace Pier. Another passing loop is approached. The car passes through the Paston Place sheds, where the cars are stored and repaired. Commentary continues; ' Now coming up to the Nudist Beach, wonder what we'll see. Yes! One solitary male figure standing up!' The car arrives at Marina Station, 'built in 1937, the year Magnus Volk died. The original was at Black Rock, a little further East, but the line was shortened slightly to allow for a bathing pool.' A disused bay is seen. The yellow cabinet, containing nearly all the controls, is shown in close up. Suter describes voltage, weights and measurements 'technically minded' viewer.
The return journey is taken, passing the Banjo pedestrian crossing, where visitors cross to reach the beach, and back through Paston Place sheds, to Peter Pan's Playground. The Regency architecture of Kemptown, above the promenade, is shown in footage of the railway line taken from the beach. Footage from this elevated vantage point follows, as a Volk's car passes along the track below. A yellow wooden building, flush with the side of the cliff, supplying the rectified current to the live rails and containing the workshops and office for the Volk's Railway, is shown in several views. Suter explains that the original Paston Place sheds were blown down in the storm of 1896, which also destroyed the Chain Pier at Brighton. 'Magnus Volk certainly had his problems in the early days,' he says. The site of the old viaduct, where the line went to sea, is passed over by a car, 'where passengers received quite a thrill and very often quite a wetting when the sea was at all rough.'
|Keywords||Beaches; Leisure Time Activities; Railways; Railway Stations; Local History; Workers; Trains; Seaside Resorts|
|Duration||11 mins 13 secs|
|Screen Archive South East, University of Brighton|
|This material is protected by copyright. Contact Screen Archive South East for access details.|