These playing cards have been produced by the Worshipful Company of Makers of Playing Cards and designed by Stacey Kelly of Squiddle Ink to commemorate the Covid-19 Pandemic. All profits from their sale will be donated to the Lord Mayor of London’s Charities.

This was painted by magician and family friend Bryan Baggs in 2020. It is No. 2 of 30. It is based on a poster design for the stage act of Lewis and Julia Davenport, although no copy of the poster has ever been found. The image was also used for a postcard: see Ref. no. N450. Their act was silent, hence the billing ‘No Time to Talk’. Lewis and Julia performed from 1904-1909, so the date of the postcard is circa 1906.

Lewis Davenport and his first wife, Julia, had some success with this act in 1904-09. It was a fast-paced act and, unusually for the first decade of the 20th century, both Lewis and Julia performed the magic. Anne’s talk follows their progress and focuses on the tricks that made up the act. Click below to read how the act developed and what was in it.

Roberta visited Britain as an American teenager in 1931with her parents and sister. Her charm and quality of magic made quite an impact, not least at the first convention of the I.B.M. British Ring in Cheltenham. In Britain she is largely unknown today, and Brian tells the story of how a photograph resulted in a journey of discovery to find out more about this talented young lady. Join Brian on his quest for more information below.

In the 1920s and 1930s most of Lewis Davenport’s bookings were at theatres in Great Britain. However, he did tour South Africa in 1926 and South America in 1927, as well as accepting bookings in Germany and Belgium. In this talk Anne follows Lewis around Europe, pointing out the differences between UK and continental variety, as well as introducing some of the speciality acts with whom Lewis worked.

Click below to join Lewis on his travels.

Over the centuries British seaside towns have continually adapted to meet the requirements of visitors. So too have the entertainment opportunities for magicians, the tricks they are able to do, and the places in which they do them. It might be at fairs, on the beach, and increasingly in indoor venues ranging from lowly to grand. Roy traces these developments in words and pictures and on the way meets many well-known, and not so well-known, magicians.

Hoffmann (Angelo Lewis) wrote a great deal, and a great deal has been written about him over the years. This short, illustrated article by Brian Lead contains interesting information about Professor Hoffmann, his output of books and how he was regarded by the world of magic.

1897 was the 60th year of Queen Victoria’s reign. There were to be Diamond Jubilee Celebrations and Maskelyne saw an opportunity to make a good profit by building a Grand Pavilion with a view of the steps of St. Paul’s Cathedral, where the ceremony was to take place. Unfortunately, the speculation did not turn out well. Dr Dawes draws on many sources to tell this story. We meet David Devant and Douglas Beaufort and learn about some rather surprising litigation that resulted from Maskelyne’s initiative.

William Morton spotted Maskelyne and Cooke in their early years when they were touring the provinces and at the same time improving their show. He stayed with them as their manager until well into their long tenure at the Egyptian Hall in London. Drawing on Morton’s autobiography, Dr Dawes is able to throw light on this period, including information on the business relationship between Morton and Maskelyne and Cooke.

William Morton continued to work in the world of entertainment and eventually had several theatres and cinemas in Hull. His story tells us much about the entertainment industry.

Have you ever thought about having your own bookplate? Steve did, for a long time. Then he decided he would make it happen. He now has 6 bookplates (or 8, depending on how you count). His article tells you about his experience and then what you need to know to avoid false starts. Even if the desire to have your own bookplate has not yet overwhelmed you, you’ll like Steve’s quirky insight into the strange, driven world of collecting.