Coventry Magic Circle was founded in 1934 under its original name of The Midland Magical Society with meetings being held at the ‘Virgins Inn & Castle Tavern’ High Street in Kenilworth. One of the early Chairmen was Will Bland, a Coventry man who at one time toured the world billed as, ‘The Great Australian Illusionist’. He presented the society with a handsome silver cup, which is still competed for today in ‘The Stage Competition’
The Society later moved its headquarters to ‘The Coundon Hotel’ in Coventry, and then to ‘The William IV Hotel’ in Fleet Street Coventry. Unfortunately this is where all of the society’s records were destroyed by enemy action during the blitz, other items destroyed included The Presidents Jewel, dies for badges and the printing blocks for the clubs ‘Alchemist’ logo. A later move was to the ‘Maudslay Hotel’ in Allesley Old Road, where the society remained for the next thirty-three years. Members presented many shows in the Assembly Hall and persuaded the brewery to carry out repairs and decorations following the war damage. During the war years those members not serving in the armed forces spent a lot of their spare time entertaining at Military Hospitals and Army and Air force camps in the area. Someone once described this as ‘Bamboozling under Bombardment’.
In 1950 it was decided to change the name of the society to The Coventry Magic Circle, this was done in order to become more closely identified with the City. The membership still included magicians from Rugby, Nuneaton, Leamington Spa and Kenilworth.
For many years one of the Circle’s highlights was the Annual Dinner Dance and Cabaret with an attendance of around 250, which included civic guests and prominent magic acts from near and far.
When it was found that making arrangements for this function was taking up more and more time during the regular fortnightly meetings it was reluctantly decided that this popular get together would have to be terminated or at any rate postponed.
In 1976 the Circle’s club room at the Maudslay Hotel was required for other purposes and shortly afterwards new headquarters were established at The British Legion Godiva Club in Spon Street. Following the unfortunate closure of the Godiva Club, the Circle was extremely fortunate to be offered accommodation at the Stoke Club on Stoke Green.
With a further move to the Liberal Club on Lockhurst Lane the society finally moved in 1999 to the Arbury Tavern, Webb St., Nuneaton. This was the first time that the society had been taken out of Coventry since it changed its name. The decision was not taken lightly and was only implemented because the members could not find a suitable venue within the Coventry border. Sadly in 2006 the Arbury Tavern closed and the club moved to Bentley Road Social Club Nuneaton. After a few good years here the club took the decision in December 2016 to move closer to Coventry and is now based at the Saunders Hall social club bedworth.
The society remains very strong with an ongoing membership of almost 30+, which includes some professional entertainers, semi-professionals and amateurs. As well as closed meetings, where we have visiting lecturers and discussion nights, we also have open evenings where friends and families are invited to be entertained. These take the form of competitions, of which we have three: Close up magician of the year, Stage magician of the year and Entertainer of the year. The Stage and Entertainer trophies are both fought for on the same evening and is open to anyone wishing to come and watch at the society’s home premises.