Exonian Magical Society Club History

historyThe Exonian Magical Society was formed in Exeter, Devon  in January 1936 by Stanley Dickson, an accomplished professional 'Society' magician.

All of the founding members have now passed on but one in particular became famous as a manufacturer of high quality magical apparatus and set up as a dealer selling superb props for tricks, many of which were his own creation. His name was Jack Hughes and his props are still sought after by many magicians and collectors today. Amongst the founding members was a magician who later became a Priest.

Another Churchman who eventually became a member was the Rev. George Arrowsmith who was to become an Honorary Vice-President of The Magic Circle in London. The influence of the Church was probably the reason that for many years meetings were held on Saturday afternoons, not a good time for children's entertainers! Max Sterling who had moved to Cullompton near Exeter to become a chicken farmer was invited to become the first President. Max, who had played the halls over a long period including Maskelynes at St. George's Hall, claimed to have originated the egg-on-fan trick. The specially prepared egg required for this effect is still today referred to as the Sterling Egg. He accepted the honour but probably created a record for the shortest Presidency by resigning a few months later because he disagreed with the proposed rule of secrecy which, in his view, prevented him from discussing his magical effects and thoughts with 'my numerous international magical friends'.

One of our youngest members, Dominic Wood, went on to become the Magic Circle's Young Magician of the Year in 1995. Since then he has become a BBC Children's Television Presenter and has his own show on television called 'Animal Magic.

The Society is flourishing with a full programme of lectures and activities throughout the year including an Annual Dinner. The emphasis is on informality and the performance of magic so the business side of running the Society has been largely delegated to the Committee.

Meetings are now held in the evenings of the fourth Thursday of every month.


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