The Northern Magic Circle was formed on the 15th April 1956 when seven interested people met, by mutual consent, at the Scotch Corner Hotel near Catterick, in Yorkshire, U.K. and discussed the need, or otherwise, of a magical society. After lengthy discussion it was felt that such a need did exist and so the Northern Magic Circle was born.
Members present at that time were:- Frank Baumforth, Derbyshire (*) George Blake, Yorkshire (*) Benny Hindmarsh, Co. Durham Bob Lawrence, Yorkshire (*) Frank Richmond, Co. Durham (*) John Scott, Northumberland (*) Tommy Scott, Co. Durham.
A further, founder member, unable to attend that first meeting was:- Jim Lumley, Yorkshire (*)
Frank Crosswaite was also unable to attend.
(*) = deceased
Right from the start, the aim of the Circle has always been to foster the interests of magic and magicians in the Northern Counties; without interfering, or attempting to interfere in any way, with the local magical societies which flourish in many of the Northern towns and cities. The Circle's motto was chosen with great care:-
AMICITIA PER ARTEM MAGICAE which, when translated means
FRIENDSHIP THROUGH THE ART OF MAGIC
The Council was then formed and one of its first actions was to seek the patronage of one of the North's most prominent citizens, HIS GRACE, THE DUKE OF NORTHUMBERLAND. They were honoured and delighted when he readily accepted and he remained as Patron until his death, when his son succeeded him both as Duke and Patron; the new Duke relinquished his patronage in April 1994 due to the pressure of his other commitments and his increasing ill-health and was elected to Honorary Membership of the Circle. On his death, his brother succeeded him as Duke of Northumberland and honoured the Circle by accepting the Patronage, thus continuing his family's long connection.
From the trickle of members in the early days the Circle grew into a strong and flourishing society with around 200 members and a thriving Junior Section. Within a year of its formation the Circle held its first four-day Convention organised in the North, by Northerners, for Northerners. The resounding success of that first Easter Parade (as the Convention is known) in Newcastle upon Tyne, over the Easter weekend in 1957, resulted in it becoming an annual event; although the venue changed during the early years, it came to rest in Harrogate for over thirty years. Recently, however, the Easter Parade has journeyed to Southport and Ilkley. The Easter Parade, recently rebranded as the Northern Magic Summit, attracts magicians from all over the U.K. and also has some regular visitors from overseas, notably the Netherlands and Germany.
The Junior Section was formed in 1972 and, whilst initially it was centred in Newcastle upon Tyne, since 1985 there have been regular meetings in both Yorkshire and Newcastle; there are also always one or two Juniors in other areas. The section has flourished and over the years has had much Press, Radio and T.V. coverage. When the section celebrated its 25th Anniversary, in 1997, it was interesting to get news of former members from as far a field as Japan and the U.S.A., as well as all parts of the U.K. A number of one-time Junior members have won acclaim in the major magical competitions and several are now firmly established as Professional Magicians working world-wide. The success of the Junior Section has always been strongly encouraged by the Officers and the Council and, we believe, our Founder Members would be very proud of this success, since this is the future life-line of the Circle itself. Junior Members presented their own show each year at the Easter Parade and there was also a special Junior Day of Magic held in Newcastle every July.
Since the early days, regular meetings have also been held in Newcastle upon Tyne for any adult members of the North-East who wish to attend. These have been organised by one or two local members of the Council and a varied programme including Lectures, Demonstrations, Competitions and active participation by Members is arranged for the twice-monthly meetings.
The Circle has its own magazine, Northern Lights, and there has been a succession of talented member Editors. For many years the magazine was produced solely by volunteer members and now, although it is published by a commercial firm, it is still a mammoth task for the Editor and distributors who mail a copy to all members every three months. This is the link between members from one Circle event to the next.
A new President is elected each year with four members to date having served a second term of Office. A President's Dinner is organised each year, normally in the area where the President resides and either a President's Day during the Summer or an event coupled with the Dinner in October.
A Welfare Officer looks after the sick and bereaved members and their families. The Council, which is a group of members elected to look after the administration of the Circle, meet 4 or 5 times a year. Council members are drawn from all parts of the North of England and the hundreds of miles they travel each year, at their own expense, to attend meetings and functions is evidence of their keen interest in, and dedication to, the Northern Magic Circle and its future.
AMICITIA PER ARTEM MAGICAE
FRIENDSHIP THROUGH THE ART OF MAGIC Originally compiled by Northern Magic Circle Press & Publicity Officer Cliff Lount of Shipley, West Yorkshire, with the assistance of Honorary Life Vice-President and Former Secretary Mr. Frank Richmond. Updated in 1988 and 1999 by Honorary Secretary Cynthia Neptune. Further updates made by the webmaster.