The London Society of Magicians was established in 1941 but was originally constituted arising out of an early collection of magicians who used the title of “The Magical Wanderers“. After the Second World War had commenced in 1939, and the Magic Circle had ceased to function, a few members of the Circle who lived fairly close to one another in London arranged to meet on a regular basis at one another’s homes. Tricks were shown and there was opportunity to discuss magic in general. These friends thus formed the basis of LSM.

Various magicians took part in these monthly meetings; one was Peter Warlock who brought along his original invention, “The P.W. Glass Penetration”. On March 16th , 1941, Alfred J Bridger (Bridger Lewis) invited a party of magicians to his home and the afternoon was spent on informal talk on conjuring, followed by tea. After this each magician presented a magical effect. The party was such sucess that it was agreed to hold similar gatherings every month. Such meetings were duly held at the homes of Captian J E Stone, Geoffrey Robinson, Edward Proudlock, Edward Greenwood, and Jack Hewitt. According to a report in the ‘Magical Gazette‘, published in November 1941, the numbers attending these meetings varied between 20 and 40, with an average of 30.

One of the original ideas was that members would unite to perform in aid of charitable causes. In September 1941, such entertainment was presented in aid of Harrow Hospital. At about this time it was decided to form a society “The London Society of Magicians”. Some years later it was suggested that the word “London” should be dropped so that the organization would be know as “The Society of Magicians”.   However a letter was received (possibly form Eric Wilson) informing the LSM that a society with that name already existed. Although the named society was established as defunct, it was decided to retain the original title.

Members first met at the “Chesire Cheese” in Fleet Street, the venue could hardly be called a head-quarters however. Eventually business transferred to the Pluto Club at 7 Thayer Street, Marylebone, W1. Later  the LSM met at premises housing a dancing academy over a Chemist’s shop in Brent Street, Hendon, where Society met for many years. In September of 1984, the Society moved to its present head-quarters, Davenports Magic Studio, The Strand, WC2.

Founder members

The president: The Lord Auckland

The 7th Baron, Captain Geoffrey Morton Eden. He was second cousin to Mr Anthony Eden who become Prime Minister. He was born in 1891, awarded the MBE in 1919 and held a commission in the  6th Battalion of the East Surrey Regiment. After a distinguished service career he was invalided from the army in 1941.

He become interested in magic in 1906 when his fathers butler taught him some card and billiard ball manipulation. Introduced by Captain Stone, he proved to make a first class President, very interested in magic and the aims of the Society.

Chairman: Alfred J Bridger

Our first chairman was wholesale fish-merchant in Billingsgate. He was very competent magician, ventriloquist and Punch and Judy exponent. During his twenty years as a professional he took part in a Royal Command Performance at Windsor Castle in 1937. He was originally a member of the Inner Magic Circle and Treasurer of the same in 1936.

Secretary/Treasurer:  Geoffrey Robinson

A semi-professional magician who left Birmingham to live in London, eventually becoming Secretary of the National Hospital, Queen Square, WC1. Originally he was a member of the Council of the British Magical Society and won the International Brotherhood of Magicians. As a Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants he fitted the post of Treasurer admirably.

Editor: Captain J E Stone

Elected President of the British Magical Society in 1936 and re-elected in 1937, he wrote a book on magic, as well a several on Hospital Management, accounts, Law and Publicity.

Written by Frederick Barlow and originally published in the Magical Gazette 1982-83