Nobody has contributed more to researching and recording magic history than Eddie Dawes (1925-2023). Yet magic history was just one area in which he achieved so much. During the Service in Celebration of his Life, held on 3 April 2023, Michael and Adrian provided wonderful insights into their Dad. The Davenport family is extremely grateful that they have agreed to have their talks recorded here.
Magicians and historians put a great deal of effort into preparing illustrated talks which may only be delivered on one occasion. For some years we have felt it would be good to do what we can to capture some of this research and make it available to a wider audience.
To achieve this, the words and images of the presentations have been converted to PDF documents.
We are grateful to fellow collectors and historians who have made their own talks available in PDF form and allowed us to include them here.
Please contact the curator if you would like to propose your own talk for inclusion.
This section of the website is dedicated to Dr Edwin A Dawes. Eddie has inspired so many collectors and historians by his own example. The importance he attached to the three Cs of collecting – Collect, Collate, Communicate – is the approach to which this website aspires.
On 9 February 2012 Anne Goulden gave this talk at the British Music Hall study group in London. It follows Lewis Davenport’s performing career from around 1900 to around 1930 and explains how he juggled his time between his magic business, music hall work, and other performances. On the way it provides an overview of the different types of variety entertainment during the period.
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.
Peter’s talk traces the development of magicians’ programmes from the 19th century into the 20th century. He illustrates this with a wide range of Maskelyne programmes, as well as those of numerous other performers, from Signor Blitz to Carmo – around 50 programmes in all. On the way Peter highlights intriguing facts that can be discovered about the performers by careful study of the programmes.
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.
Roy presented this talk in the History of Mystery session at the British Ring of the International Brotherhood of Magicians convention in Buxton, 9 September 2016. Click on this PDF to join the conventioneers of 1931, and to understand what happened and why it was so enjoyed by the participants.
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.