History

The Leicester Magic Circle is one of the oldest magical societies in the world. In 1924 some half dozen keen magicians began to meet every Saturday afternoon, with Will Sutton as an informal chairman. Eventually with growing numbers, they were forced to book a series of ever larger rooms to hold meetings, eventually finding themselves at the YMCA for some ten years.

For a short while waning interest forced the group to stop meetings but the opening of Wilf Hubbard’s Magic Shop in 1935 drew more newcomers, with meetings resuming in the King Richard pub. As the new chair, Cyril Gibbons realised that the reformed Circle could only survive if it ran itself on business principles. This meant new officials, a new location, the White Hart hotel, and a new President, Sir Julien Cahn. Sir Julien’s name is still important to members, to this day the Circle holds a stage magic competition for the Sir Julien Cup. Until 1999 this was held in Stanford Hall, Sir Julien’s home, where he had a fully equipped 352 seat theatre built so that he could perform whenever he wanted. 1935 saw the first Annual Dinner, well attended and a taste of things to come.

 

1936 was a year of firsts, with the Midland Magical Society’s visit marking the first by another society, and with the Leicester Circle making their own first away trip to the Northampton Magician’s Club. Another move, and the Circle found itself in the Victory Hotel, celebrating with a July visit to the Great Levante’s show at the Opera House, with Circle officials presenting him with a special Leicester Magic Circle badge.

Inspired members produced another first, a big show for the public, at Leicester’s Little Theatre, the first of many, which were to showcase famous performers like Rex Reader, Billy Wilson and Cliff Townsend. A final first for the Circle in 1936 was their charity performances at hospitals and other venues, an activity which continues to this very day.

When the war began in 1939, the Circle was forced to move again, eventually settling for a spell at the Bell Hotel and then the Grand Hotel. Today the headquarters can be found in the Braunstone Civic Centre, but still going strong.

Presidents
2010-19
Wayne Dobson
2006-10
Tony Rix
2002-06
Roy Johnson
2001-02
John Corbett
2000-01
Scotty Thompson
99-2000
Barry Martin
1998-99
Ian Barradell
1997-98
John McIntyre
1996-97
Glenn Bonnar
1995-96
Derek Wann
1994-95
Mark Cosby
1993-94
Scotty Thompson
1992-93
Les Leveen
1991-92
Albert Dix
1990-91
Raymond Cross
1989-90
David Faulkes
1988-89
Tony Brooks
1987-88
Ron Betteridge
1986-87
Derrick Holmes
1985-86
Peter Roberts
1984-85
Brian Lord
1983-84
Roy Johnson
1982-83
Sam Mallinson
1981-82
Ray Cox
1980-81
Maurice Medhurst
1979-80
Roy Vickers
1978-79
Rex Reader
1977-78
Raymond Cross
1944-45
Len Styles
1976-77
Cliff Townsend
1975-76
John Parker
1974-75
Rex Reader
1973-74
Roy Johnson
1972-73
Alan Brook Holmes
1971-72
Alan Leeke
1970-71
Ron Betteridge
1969-70
Roy Vickers
1968-69
Brian Lord
1967-68
Larry Phipps
1966-67
Billy Wilson
1965-66
Gordon Collin
1964-65
Keith Clements
1963-64
Bruce Vickers
1962-63
Raymond Cross
1961-62
Frank Moore
1960-61
Jim Bartlett
1959-60
Larry Phipps
1958-59
Fred Gray
1957-58
Carlton Pallett
1956-57
Max Billson
1955-56
Cliff Townsend
1954-55
Eric Gaylon
1953-54
Albert Mattley
1952-53
Billy Wilson
1951-52
Eddie Ward
1950-51
Cecil Tebbett
1949-50
Frank Chaplin
1948-49
Roland Carr
1947-48
Fred Payne
1946-47
George Sturgess
1945-46
Wilfred Hubbard
1935-44
Sir Julien Cahn, Bart