British magician Cliff Townsend gave this to John and Anne Davenport in August 1981. On the front of the bone china plate he had stuck the roundel from the cover of The Magic Circular from the June and July, 1959 issue. It shows George Davenport on the right welcoming Dr Harlan Tarbell to the Annual Banquet as the Hon. Editor John Young looks on.

As is often the case, the real interest is in the story which lies behind this item. It was probably in the 1930s that magician Jack Blake was in Davenports and saw this handkerchief at the back of the counter. George Davenport was out at the time and so Mr Blake asked Gus Davenport if he could have a look at it, and what was the price. On being told, he bought it. Later, when George came back, he was furious because the item was a prototype and not for sale. In fact the material was not silk, but a heavier material. Gus didn’t know it was not for sale. We only know of this story because in 1989 Granville Taylor (Faust) bought the cloth from Mr Blake and then, almost a decade later in 1998, Granville presented it to John and Anne Davenport with a message that included: ‘I think it is only fitting that it should be returned to The House of Davenport . . . P.S. Make sure it doesn’t accidently disappear again!’ The story is contained in letters from Granville and Mr Blake which reside in the collection.

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.

The poster advertises the Saturday night evening show of the IBM British Ring convention in 1934. According to the write-up of the show in ‘The Budget’ of July 1934, not all acts appeared. The act billed as Davenport and Company Magic of 1934 was George Davenport.

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).

The collection contains cine film taken by the family, much of it from the 1930s. The film has been transferred to tape, and more recently converted to an electronic form, in order to preserve the images. During this process some of the more interesting frames have been printed out as photographs. The magician on the top sheet of photographs shown here is Gus Davenport performing in Berlin in 1937. The face of Ottokar Fischer can be seen in one of the photographs lower down in the pile.