The Davenport Collection
- a growing resource on magic and entertainment history

British catalogues

Davenport Collection website e-news #14, June 2022

Davenport Collection website e-news #14, June 2022

Click on Details if you would like to download a PDF of this e-news.
E-newsletters like this one are sent out four times a year, highlighting recent additions to the website. If you’d like to be added to the mailing list, please contact the curator.
The June 2022 issue included:
– more on David Devant’s early career.
– Uri Geller and mind power.
– Sakkaku Scale by Tenyo – a magical optical illusion.
– create wooden Japanese furniture by taking a block of wood to pieces. It’s a puzzle putting it together again.
– the link between World War II gas masks and Davenports conjurers’ wax.
– the Old and the New Magic: a look at Davenports 1956 catalogue.

To see all the other e-news, click on Website e-news.

Woolworth’s Stores catalogue of E. & S. (Ellisdons) items

Woolworth’s Stores catalogue of E. & S. (Ellisdons) items

These four pink pages offer ‘A Selection of the World’s Best Jokes, Tricks, Puzzles, Magic, Novelties (made in England)’. No item costs more than six old pence (6d). I am grateful to Philip Treece for explaining in 2021 that the use of E. & S. allowed retailers like Woolworths to purchase from Ellisdons without fear that customers would be directed to purchase directly from Ellisdons. The fascinating story as to how this list of items came about will be told in a forthcoming book by Philip Treece about the Ellisdon family and business.

Hamleys Book of Magic and Mystery catalogue, probably dated just before World War 1.

Hamleys Book of Magic and Mystery catalogue, probably dated just before World War 1.

The catalogue also contains a few pages of novelties, puzzles and jokes. A sticker has been pasted onto the front cover pointing out that prices cannot be guaranteed owing to the War. The catalogue has been dated on this basis. The back cover is also illustrated because it gives their various addresses in London at the time, as well as noting their presence in Paris and Nuremberg.

“Demon Silk Tricks” Davenport catalogue, from 15 New Oxford Street

“Demon Silk Tricks” Davenport catalogue, from 15 New Oxford Street

This catalogue from Davenports was devoted to silk tricks. It was unusual in that some of the inside pages were in colour. Based on clues from the contents of the catalogue, the likely date is 1935. The Gussie the Duck silk was named after Gus Davenport. Also illustrated in the catalogue is Gilly the Hound (named after Gilly Davenport) and Wally the Wolf (named after Wally Davenport).

L. Davenport & Co. catalogue, from 15 New Oxford Street

L. Davenport & Co. catalogue, from 15 New Oxford Street

The Demon Sand Trick is advertised on the front cover in colour. The catalogue has 20 pages. The business address, and the fact that the telephone number is Holborn 9012, allow us to date the catalogue between 1927 and 1937. The style of the catalogue suggests the 1930s. Also shown is the inside page which advertises the trick on the cover.

Gamagic catalogue from Gamages, London, circa 1913

Gamagic catalogue from Gamages, London, circa 1913

The cover shows David Devant in the costume worn by him at the Royal Command Performance at The Palace Theatre, 1 July 1912. The catalogue covers magic and its allied arts, juggling, puzzles, novelties and jokes. This catalogue also contains an order form which is a sheet of paper, folded into 4 pages, all of which are printed.

Ellisdons catalogue, 1969

Ellisdons catalogue, 1969

60 pages crammed full with jokes, novelties, puzzles, magic and gifts. At one time Ellisdons had a large retail shop in Holborn, London. By 1969 they had become fully mail order, operating from Bedford in England.