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.

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.

Many know the name Chevalier Thorn, but few of us know his story. Paul Freeman’s research has pulled together a revealing picture of the man and his magic. From his birth in 1853 to his death in 1928 there were huge changes in the world of magic. Thorn’s accomplishments contributed to these changes and deserve wider recognition. Paul Freeman’s talk will do much to rectify this. Click here to download the PDF based on his talk.

Historians of Victorian entertainment will be familiar with the Egyptian Hall on Piccadilly in London. It served as an entertainment complex until it was demolished in 1905. Less well known is the fact that the Hall has been captured on wall tiles in the Hyde Park Corner pedestrian underpass.

Click below to download the PDF containing John Davenport’s photographs.

The Egyptian Hall on Piccadilly in London was probably the best-known example in England of a building in the pseudo ancient Egyptian style. Another was built around 1830 in Penzance in Cornwall. It was a mixture of styles, but the Egyptian influence was clear.

Click below to download the PDF with additional information and John Davenport’s photographs.

The much loved Herbert J. Collings, also known as Col Ling Soo, became a successful society entertainer and performer for royalty in the first half of the 20th century. He was awarded the Gold Medal of The Magic Circle and twice served as their President. The Magic Circle owns a typescript of Smilestones, his reminiscences covering 1898 to 1946. With the permission of David Hibberd, Archivist of The Magic Circle, his Smilestones are reproduced here. 35 illustrations have been added.