Peter Brunning tells the story of this now seldom remembered magician. Peter Waring, born in 1916, only became a magician after the second world war. His sophisticated modern style was a great success and he soon found himself working at some of the best variety theatres. At the height of his career, his comedy and timing won him his own comedy programme on BBC radio. His meteoric rise was followed by a swift downfall as his past caught up with him, resulting in his suicide in 1949.

This is an example of ‘pipitis’, the condition which leads magicians to collect items associated with cards, dice, top hats, rabbits etc. We are grateful to magician Chris Woodward who told us he has a similar table. He believes it was a giveaway at a magicians convention on the continent of Europe round about the 1950s. Chris recalls that the table, as produced, also had a pyramid of billiard balls, a wand and a book of tricks on it.

Herbert J. Collings performed his pseudo-Chinese act under the name Col Ling Soo. He was a successful performer and twice served as President of The Magic Circle, from 1928 – 1931 and from 1954 – 1958. This explains why on his letterhead he has crossed out the word ‘Past’ in front of the words ‘President of the Magic Circle’. 1955 was the Golden Jubilee for The Magic Circle. His letter tells us that he had a particularly busy week over the period of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations. This item from the Chris Woodward Collection is included here with his kind permission. There is much more on this fascinating character in Ref. no. N2345, which contains Herbert J.’s illustrated ‘Smilestones: Recollections of Herbert J. Collings in his own words: 1898-1946’.