HOW IT ALL STARTED
The Newcastle Magic Circle is one of the oldest and most successful magic societies in the UK. Founded on February 23rd 1933, it took its original name from the Saville Restaurant on Saville Row in Newcastle, The Saville Magic Club.
The restaurant was run by the club founder and ex-professional magician Burt Fry, who had placed a notice in the local Evening Chronicle for magicians to contact him. And so, the ‘circle’ was born.
The first meeting was attended by: Harold Ralford, Arnold Duffle, Norman Stout, Bob Gaygey, Bill Johnson, Ian Gray, Bill Hutchinson, Tom Cato and Burt Fry. Bill Hutchinson was appointed the club’s first President with Tom Cato taking on the Secretary role, a post he held for 21 years.
When the Circle moved to the County Hotel, opposite Central Station, the name was changed to the Newcastle upon Tyne Magic Circle, and nowadays mainly referred to as the Newcastle Magic Circle.
As the Circle began to attract more members, Bill built up quite a reputation for attracting notable visitors which included: Chris Chariton, Voltare, Bobby Kimber, Chefalo, Col Ling Soo (Herbert J Collings) and Graham Adams. Magicians from Edinburgh, York and Blyth attended the very first convention in 1948, which was so successful that another was held in 1951. Here, Goodliffe described in Abra: – “Harmony and good fellowship were the keynotes of this ambitious effort of the Newcastle Circle, and visitors were left feeling that, not only had they had good value for money, but that they would enjoy coming back for more punishment”
The conventions were hard work but they attracted many celebrities. Members and visitors were delighted with the results that in 1958 the Newcastle upon Tyne Magic Circle celebrated its Silver Jubilee with another Convention and the tradition continued in 1983, when the Circle celebrated it’s Golden Jubilee. The one-day event was extended and guest celebrity and magicians favourite, Paul Daniels joined members and starred in the Gala Show.
Still today, with the exception of December, the Circle meets every month and has an extremely good and varied programme of lectures and competitions. Over the years, the club has played host to some of the World’s finest magicians, too many too list.
One of our major successes is the President’s Annual Dinner that continues to be a sell out every year.