Sunday, 10 June 2012

Brighton and Rottingdean Seashore Electric Railway

Every month or so, my sister Clare and I take an evening out for a spot of retail therapy followed by a trip to the cinema.

A couple of weeks ago, we made our usual trip and, amongst other things, I picked up a pack of tea towels that had old vintage posters printed on them. I thought they looked interesting and bought them but because of the way they were pinned together I couldn't really see the pictures in full until I got home and unpacked them.

One tea towel was printed with a 1930s advertising poster for Blackpool and the other - the one I found most interesting - was printed with an advertisement inviting you to take.......

'A Sea Voyage on Wheels at Brighton'.

I decided the tea towels were far too nice for drying dishes and would look good hanging on the wall. I tried various places around the house and came to the conclusion that they looked just right in our little laundry room (which also doubles as a downstairs cloakroom and the posters would be interesting for guests to look at whilst visiting if you know what I mean).

Our laundry room has a rather out of place interior window which looks into our hallway so to make it more private, I had previously covered the glass with some pretty wallpaper. I discovered the tea towels fitted perfectly in the frame and would be an ideal alternative to the wallpaper. 

Here they are:

So this Brighton 'Sea Voyage on Wheels' really intrigued me. It seemed such a Victorian seaside type of thing. I was fascinated by the picture of all the holiday makers crammed onto this pier-like structure with life buoys. And the electric cable that just spelled danger with all that water!

I showed the tea towels to Chris and we chatted about whether this seaside attraction at Brighton had really existed.
Chris seemed doubtful but I wanted to believe that it was real...

Good old Wikipedia.

We looked it up and found that it most definitely had existed in Brighton in Victorian times.

Here's a old photo just to prove it:

You can see why the car had the nickname 'Daddy Long-Legs'!

The railway was invented by Magnus Volk who designed it to compliment and extend the route of his existing more conventional seafront railway (which is still running to this day).

 Magnus in 1883
The railway opened in 1896 and ran from Brighton through the shallow coastal waters to the nearby village of Rottingdean......
What an incredible sight it must have been...

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And even though it looks so precarious, how exciting it must have been to take a trip aboard the Daddy Long-Legs....

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Apparently due to regulations, a qualified sea captain had to be on board at all times......
There was a promenade deck and a central ornate saloon.....

Sadly but not surprisingly the railway was fraught with problems and closed in 1901. Volk failed to raise finance to re-build it and Daddy Long-Legs, the track and other structures were eventually sold for scrap.

At low tide however, some of the concrete sleepers may still be seen.

Fascinating isn't it?

Just a quick word about Spencer's Sunday Hat. I had a hat all ready for him to wear but technical difficulties meant that this Sunday's photos had to be abandoned...

(technical difficulties = the hat wouldn't stay on his head) I've done a compilation of all the hats so far instead which you can see

Let's hope for a nice bit of sunny weather this week - not too hot - just lovely and warm with a gentle breeze.....

See you soon,

Maggie xx

Photos courtesy of Wikipedia and

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  1. I love the tea towels! They look so festive and thank you for the research as well!

  2. Great tea towels. The story of the railway is fascinating. Wouldn't that have been fun (and a little scary) to ride?

  3. Hi Maggie, I love the tea towels! Being from Manchester, Blackpool was always the seaside we went to as kids so although I don't like it much now, I have lots of lovely memories from there. The Brighton railway is fascinating. I remember seeing an episode of 'Coast' about it where they showed those lines from the sleepers which you can still see. The Victorians had some really revolutionary ideas didn't they? I don't think I fancy a ride on it myself. :-) xx

  4. That is one of the most fascinating posts I have read anywhere for ages. Brilliant - and to think it all began with a spot of retail therapy and a couple of tea towels. What a wonderful bit of Victorian daring and engineering. Imagine strolling in a salon like that as you take the sea air, on wheels. I must show this to my husband, he'll be interested. By the way, I like your treatment of the window in the laundry room.

  5. What a good story; I love it!
    It really triggers my imagination; I 'm not sure if I would havebeen brave enough to take a ride though...
    So nice to have a tea towel with a story on it :)!

  6. Hello Maggie, I am Shari and I am from Lake Charles, Louisiana!! I wanted to let you know I am your newest follower and to tell you your blog is so nice!! It looks like it's full of life which I love!!!! If you ever have time come visit me as well. Shari:)

  7. That is amazing! I love the idea of travelling in a 'daddy long legs' train! Though, not sure I could do it - perhaps if I didn't look down. Thanks for the lovely old photos as well. And great tea towels - they're mini works of art with a practical side! Kim x

  8. Dear Maggie, I gave you a Sunshine Award because I really enjoy your blog!
    You can read more about it on my blog.

  9. I would like to pass the award onto you too Maggie, please see my blog :)

  10. HI Maggie.. Shari again.. I would love to pass the Award the Linda sent to you as well! Are you feeling special today?? :) Shari

  11. Ha ha, just seen you have been sent one, but I'm sending you a Sunshine Award too xx

  12. Thanks to everyone for their lovely comments and also for the nominations for the Sunshine Award! I feel very honoured you thought of me :) Maggie xx

    1. Wow, that's a lot of sunshine!
      Where do all those awards come from all at the same time?
      Strange, isn't it?
      Love, Mirjam.


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