Brighton Magazine

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Selected Brighton Magazine Article

Friday 11 February 2011

The Jenny Lind Locomotive Makes A Ghostly Reappearance Over Brighton’s New England Quarter

Jon Mills' metal works stand all over the British Isles. All fabricated in steel, they range from stand alone high street sculptures and sculptural railings on civic buildings, to 1" high props for children's books.

Hundreds of his mileposts stand on the Sustran's Cycle network all over the country.

In recent years he has received several commissions in his home town of Brighton including the stunning sculpture for the Millennium Brighton Festival, commissions for Hove Museum and the gateway to St Bartholomew's school and the new Ebenezer Baptist Chapel.

Jon's most recent commission, as part of the New England Quarter development, is a life-size 2D replica of the 1847 steam locomotive, the Jenny Lind.



This magnificent, etching-like structure will be cantilevered on a steel beam over the disused railway bridge in Brighton's New England Quarter.

So where do you start when creating something on such a large scale?

Jon Mills explains: "The starting point for this project was to consider potential artworks to be incorporated into the new Green Corridor to Brighton Station.

"I wanted to draw attention to the massive locomotive works and industry that Brighton once boasted on this site.

"Giant clinker shovels now hang on the brick piers that once supported a part of these works, linked by railings resembling tool racks.

"The Ghost Train will sit at the Northern-most end, contextualised by the disused cast iron railway bridge which will have public access this year."




The Jenny Lind, named after the famous Swedish opera singer, was one of the first locomotives commissioned by the London, Brighton & South Coast Railway and proved so popular, many more were commissioned all over the country.

David Joy, the Chief Draughtsman of E.B.Wilson, was asked to visit Brighton railway works to make tracings of the drawings of a 2-2-2 locomotive designed by John Gray for the railway so that ten further examples could be built.

After some strengthening of various members, the engine was three tons heavier than expected.

However, it steamed freely and was economical on fuel.

It was to this that its success was attributed, along with the increase in boiler pressure that had become possible over the years.

However credit must be given to Joy's suspension arrangements that made it extremely smooth-running and stable.

This ghostly train will be lit up at night with lights that slowly fade up and down giving it truly spectral quality.


The Jenny Lind is due to be completed by March when it will be mounted onto the bridge.

Follow Jon"s progress on his blog metaljons.wordpress.com


by: Mike Cobley



Related links

The Jenny Lind Project

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