We are grateful to Paul Freeman who has given us permission to include this PDF version of his talk, which he has given in England and Austria between 2008 and 2011. Paul relates the interesting and often surprising ways in which magicians have ended up with a well-known stage name.

David Price is well placed to offer insight into the joys and pitfalls of collecting magic books. He has stories to share about major UK collectors and booksellers of the 20th century: Andrew Block, Harry Bosworth, Leslie Cole, Jimmy Findlay and George Jenness. David’s personal recollections of Sotheby’s and the world of magic book collecting are both informative and entertaining. Click below for the PDF of David’s talk. [Photograph courtesy of David Hibberd and The Magic Circle Archive.]

This talk covers new insights into the private and business lives of Goldston. It is based on a study of the Goldston archives within the Davenport Collection as well as new research undertaken by Fergus. The story is a fascinating one, brought to life with many illustrations. The talk starts by solving the mystery of where Goldston was born.

Nobody is better placed than Donald to tell the story of Goodliffe the Magician and the magazine Abracadabra which Goodliffe founded in 1946 – the World’s Only Magical Weekly. Donald was involved with Abra from 1965 for over 40 years, many of those as Managing Editor, so you will also learn about Donald’s life in magic. The talk is full of insight and humour and the story is brought to life with over forty illustrations. Where else will you see Goodliffe with His Holiness Pope Paul V1, or Michael Bailey riding a bicycle?

Alexander and Annie Fay (not Anna Eva Fay), who were performing in the late 1800s, might be all but forgotten today had it not been for their involvement in the Sunderland Victoria Hall Disaster of 1883. Dean explains the events leading up to this tragedy. However, the talk is about much more than this. Through original research, Dean traces the lives of the Fays and on the way we learn much about the performances of the day and the characters whose paths they cross.

Anne has unearthed new information on the eight year journey that took Maskelyne and Cooke from Cheltenham to the Egyptian Hall in London. On the way she explains how Maskelyne and Cooke could call themselves Royal Illusionists, despite not having performed before royalty.

In 1994 Eddie delivered this talk in Ayr, Scotland, on the occasion of the unveiling of a plaque dedicating the Ramsay Gardens to John Ramsay. Eddie manages to convey the charm of the man whose close-up skills made him internationally famous. The roles of Victor Farelli and Andrew Galloway in bringing Ramsay’s magic to a wider audience are also covered, as are Ramsay’s less well-known successes with stage magic.

The magical career of Herr Adalbert Frikell, the son of Wiljalba Frikell, saw both high spots and low spots. Paul Freeman charts his life from the time he arrived in England, through to the high point of his royal performances, to the lean years and his ultimate death in poverty. Did he commit suicide or was it death by natural causes? Paul’s illustrated talk answers this question and sheds much light on the rise and fall of this talented magician.

J.B. Priestley’s book Lost Empires, published in 1965, looks back on the life of the fictitious magician Ganga Dun before the First World War. In his talk given at the British Ring Convention in Eastbourne on 24 September 2015, Brian Lead revisits the book to review the magic in it and how closely it matches the reality of a magician working at the time. Read on to learn why Brian believes that Priestley had a good working knowledge of stage magic and instinctively understood the subtleties and problems of its presentation.