Canons at Brighton Station?
Have a look at the gateposts at the front entrance of Brighton station.
They seem to have been made out of upturned canon barrels! So were they,
One view is that they really are canon barrels. Brighton used to have
two batteries of canons on the seafront. They were removed in the 1850s.
It is said that three of the canon barrels were used to form the gate
posts. Others deny this on the grounds that the gateposts have been internally
inspected and are judged not to be real canons.
But undoubtedly the gateposts have some resemblance to canon
barrels, and are not in the same style as the cast iron pillars of the
station's front canopy. So why was a canon-style chosen?
So what's the truth? I think I can settle this little historical controversy
but you'll have to wait while I sort out permission from the copyright
holder of a certain photograph.
The Daddy Longlegs
The most peculiar, outlandish, eccentric Heath-Robinson train you could
imagine: a train on stilts, that ran along the shore IN THE SEA!; or was
it a pier that moved on wheels; or a ship on stilts. (Surely
the original inspiration of Heath Robinson!)
The strangest part of this story is this: it did actually exist and it
worked - at least, for a few years (1896 - 1901). It was called The Brighton
and Rottingdean Seashore Electric Tramroad, but was known popularly as
the Daddy Longlegs.
It was the brainchild of Brighton's most illustrious Victorian inventor,
Magus Volk, whose more conventional train is still running today between
Brighton Pier and Black Rock during the summer season.
I say 'conventional' meaning it doesn't have legs and it runs on land,
and not in the sea. But nonetheless it Volks Electric Railway was still
revolutionary in its day, and can claim to be the first electric-powered
railway in Britain.
Full story, click here.
On The Level
Level is the park in the central area of the city. It is the northward
part of what used to be called Valley Gardens, that is, the greens that
run from Old Steine gardens at the seafront northwards to The Level. It
is just north of St Peters Church which is at the fork of the London
and Lewes Roads. "Valley" because this is the bottom of the valley through
which the intermittent river, the Wellsbourne, once flowed, exiting to
the sea though Pool Valley, near the city's bus station.
The Level is the place where the funfair pitches when
it comes to Brighton several times in the year. It is the place where
demonstrations often start or terminate. It is the site for an alternative
festival, the Brighton Urban Free Festival (BUFF) when it is up and running.
Today it is popular with students who live in nearby student halls. It
also has a children's playground and a set of skateboarding ramps. For
more info, click here.