The History Of The Guild

Our association was founded to bring together local magicians to have fun, talk and learn with each other. If you are a local magician then this is your opportunity to meet new friends – we’re always happy to welcome new members to our group. Contact us – we’d love to meet you!

The Guild was founded in 1939 at the well-known theatrical store 'The Sign of Four Theatre Shop', which was located on Derby Road. The founding members were Cpt Val Jackson, Stonewall Jackson, Bertram Millidge, Rev R. W. Lax West, Maurice Goldworth, G. Harding, Denis Gardner, and R. Richardson. All were amateurs or professionals enthusiastically looking for a regular place to talk magic, and they found one in the formation of the Guild.
The reason it was named 'Guild of Magicians' and not 'Nottingham Magic Circle' is now lost in the mists of time; however it does make the club stand out as being slightly different from other magic associations.
The 'Sign of Four Theatre Shop' was the Guild's home throughout the war, albeit on an "on and off" basis, due to a number of members being called up. Those that were not called up, played a vital role in entertaining the people of Nottingham and many visiting members of the Armed Forces.
As the number of members increased during the 1940s and 1950s, the Guild decided it needed bigger and better premises. The society successfully moved to the Y.M.C.A. in the city centre where they met twice a month. Rising costs and inner city worries caused the Guild to move in 1979 to its present headquarters at the Arts Centre in Arnold, under the auspices of the Gedling Borough Arts Association.
Here we meet each first and third Thursday in most months to see lecturers from all over the world, attend workshops and demonstrations, have practical discussions, take part in competitions and become involved in exchange visits with other societies. Anything in fact which will enable the members to learn, to practise and to improve their skills in the art of magic as an entertainment. In recent years the Guild has also put on two theatre shows annually.
At present there are around 50 members ranging from very early teens to 90 year olds. Numbers fluctuate from year to year depending on magic's popularity at the time, and the Guild saw some of its lowest numbers during the early 90's when magic took a downward trend in the public's eye. Thankfully due to the popularity of Harry Potter, David Blaine, Derren Brown, Dynamo and a new brand of talented TV magicians, magic is very much high profile again.
Members at the moment come from all walks of life including radio presenters, teachers, doctors, chemists, solicitors, taxi drivers and plumbers but to name a few. Its longest serving member, still very much involved with the Guild, is Donald Chambers. The Guild has, over the years, the distinction of recording a number of illustrious magicians amongst its members. These include, the Great Cingalee (professional illusionist), Lewis Ganson (one of the greatest teachers/writers of magic), Eric Hawksworth (magic inventor), Ken De Courcy (performer, writer, magic inventor, and editor), Will Dexter (journalist and magic writer) and the illustrious Peter Warlock (writer, performer, inventor and publisher extraordinaire).
Who next? The next 70 years will tell. 
The Guild is always welcoming new members into its secretive fold, and embraces anyone with a genuine interest in magic; professional, amateur or just an eager hobbyist. 


If you'd like to become a member, please use our

contact formor download our

application form.

Contact us :

Dean Grimshaw (President)

07502 573509


Alternatively see our committee for individual contact information.

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© Nottingham Guild of Magicians Pond Hills Lane Community Centre, Arnold, Nottingham, NG5 8DR