Sad News from Davenport's Magic in London

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Richard Kaufman
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Sad News from Davenport's Magic in London

Postby Richard Kaufman » January 21st, 2020, 10:41 am

This just posted today:

"It is with great regret that we need to announce that Davenports Magic Shop in Charing Cross will be closing for the final time on Thursday, 30th of January 2020. This is due to the redevelopment of the Underground Arcade that we have called home for some 36 years. We are looking for a new central London location for our shop, but at present have not found anywhere that would suit our needs.

We will continue with our mail-order web site, which has over 14,000 items available for shipping around the world, including the very latest magic tricks, books, accessories, and videos. We will also be developing our renowned magic classes, workshops and courses for both adults and children, please see our web site for more details of these, with the forthcoming dates and locations.

Finally, we would like to take this opportunity to thank our friends and customers for your support over the years. We have had some wonderful times, met some wonderful people, and are immensely grateful for your friendship. Thank you all so very, very much."
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AJM
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Re: Sad News from Davenport's Magic in London

Postby AJM » January 21st, 2020, 10:56 am

Sad news, however Davenports didn’t have the most salubrious of locations in Old London Town.

One had to wend one’s way through the subterranean nooks and crannies of the Charing Cross underground station complex before alighting upon its portals.

I recall an eventful occasion when, upon my arrival at the door, I encountered officers of the local constabulary who were in the process of moving along an unfortunate homeless gentleman who had decided to remove his clothes.

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Re: Sad News from Davenport's Magic in London

Postby Leo Garet » January 21st, 2020, 11:42 am

Never managed to visit this version of the firm.

Did get to the "British Museum Branch" a few times, though. Basic, but generally convivial.

Good luck with the search.

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Re: Sad News from Davenport's Magic in London

Postby Bob Farmer » January 21st, 2020, 1:38 pm

I never got to the Charing Cross location, but I was a daily visitor to the British Museum location when Pat Page was usually there. On my way from Mecklenburgh Square, where I was living, to the London School of Economics, where I was an occasional student, I had to pass Davenport's and the British Museum. Unfortunately for my studies, I was usually drawn into the shop or the museum and would lose track of time only coming to when hunger signaled it was supper time.

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Re: Sad News from Davenport's Magic in London

Postby brianarudolph » January 21st, 2020, 2:50 pm

Davenport's has always been a bucket list item for me and unfortunately every time I began planning my first-ever trip to London, life would invariably throw a wrench in my plans.

And while I would have loved to visit them in the Charing Cross location, I was actually quite relieved when I read the posts as the "sad news" subject line had caused me to think the news was going to be of a far, far worse nature. It's still sad - just not in the way I was reading "sad."

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Re: Sad News from Davenport's Magic in London

Postby Gordon Meyer » January 21st, 2020, 5:18 pm

I was there this past July and the arcade was filled with homeless people and debris. There were at least 3 passed out addicts literally in front of Davenports. I wish I was exaggerating, but I’m not. They deserve a much better location.

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Re: Sad News from Davenport's Magic in London

Postby Tom Moore » January 21st, 2020, 5:32 pm

It’s a sad end to an iconic brand but over the last 10 years the davenport brand has been diminished. I wish them nothing but luck but the chances of finding a venue within London they can afford and which has the facilities they need is very slightly less than zero. Bricks and Mortimer shops are dead, ones In capital cities don’t stand a chance...
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Re: Sad News from Davenport's Magic in London

Postby Bob Farmer » January 21st, 2020, 5:34 pm

"I was there this past July and the arcade was filled with homeless people ...."

Are you sure that wasn't an IBM Ring meeting?

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Re: Sad News from Davenport's Magic in London

Postby Joe Lyons » January 21st, 2020, 6:16 pm

Bob Farmer wrote:"I was there this past July and the arcade was filled with homeless people ...."

Are you sure that wasn't an IBM Ring meeting?


No, but it’s a pity they arrested that fellow in the middle of his quick change act....

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Re: Sad News from Davenport's Magic in London

Postby Christopher1979 » January 21st, 2020, 7:21 pm

I was born in London and lived about 30 mins away from Davenports. It was a big part of my childhood and I used to spend all my pocket money in there. I moved away from London in the early 2000s so don't know what it was like of late. Either way, it is a shame, it had a very special feel to it seeing where it was located. Magic shops are so important, more so in these days of online social media. In some respects, the magic community is closer nit because of modern technology but in other ways, not so much. Meeting other magicians in magic shops/clubs is a very important thing. Even though I accept change, Davenport's closing is very sad news...

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Re: Sad News from Davenport's Magic in London

Postby performer » January 21st, 2020, 8:27 pm

Gordon Meyer wrote: the arcade was filled with homeless people


I knew and loved one of them...............................

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Re: Sad News from Davenport's Magic in London

Postby Jack Shalom » January 22nd, 2020, 12:34 am

Gordon Meyer wrote: There were at least 3 passed out addicts literally in front of Davenports. I wish I was exaggerating, but I’m not. They deserve a much better location.


Yes, but what about Davenports?

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Re: Sad News from Davenport's Magic in London

Postby Richard Kaufman » January 22nd, 2020, 9:37 am

It was never even close to an ideal location: the shop was hard to find, and the arcade was always filled with the homeless, trash, and the smell of urine.
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Re: Sad News from Davenport's Magic in London

Postby Bill Mullins » January 22nd, 2020, 11:48 am

The best magic shop I ever went into reeked of cigarette smoke (I can still tell books I bought there 10 years ago), and had a pig running around inside of it (Denny & Lee's in Baltimore).

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Re: Sad News from Davenport's Magic in London

Postby Ian Kendall » January 22nd, 2020, 5:40 pm

I have so many memories of that place. First went there in 1986, and in that year (86-7) I basically signed my paycheck over to them every week.

I can still remember Bobby Bernard's first words to me; you're being a cnut...

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Re: Sad News from Davenport's Magic in London

Postby Richard Kaufman » January 22nd, 2020, 6:11 pm

What is a "cnut"?
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Re: Sad News from Davenport's Magic in London

Postby Roy-McIlwee » January 22nd, 2020, 6:16 pm

I was afraid to ask.

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Re: Sad News from Davenport's Magic in London

Postby Ian Kendall » January 22nd, 2020, 6:51 pm

It's a spelling mistake that avoids the auto censor. Try to imagine what Bobby might have called me when I was 18, and you'll get it...

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Re: Sad News from Davenport's Magic in London

Postby Q. Kumber » January 22nd, 2020, 7:43 pm

Ian Kendall wrote:It's a spelling mistake that avoids the auto censor. Try to imagine what Bobby might have called me when I was 18, and you'll get it...


You weren't the only one! :-)

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Re: Sad News from Davenport's Magic in London

Postby Richard Kaufman » January 22nd, 2020, 8:21 pm

Oh. I disliked Bobby with a passion.
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Re: Sad News from Davenport's Magic in London

Postby performer » January 22nd, 2020, 8:33 pm

I can certainly see a clash of personality there. As for the bad word simply reverse the middle two letters and you will figure it out.

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Re: Sad News from Davenport's Magic in London

Postby MagicbyAlfred » January 22nd, 2020, 9:18 pm

Bill Mullins wrote:The best magic shop I ever went into reeked of cigarette smoke (I can still tell books I bought there 10 years ago), and had a pig running around inside of it (Denny & Lee's in Baltimore).


From what I understand, that pig could do an absolutely invisible classic pass. (It must be true, because nobody ever saw it).

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Re: Sad News from Davenport's Magic in London

Postby Ian Kendall » January 23rd, 2020, 2:23 pm

Bobby was Marmite, certainly. I had a few lessons from him in 86, and despite the sessons often being over two hours long, he only ever charged for one.

If you got him in a good mood, he could be quite pleasant and would demonstrate and show things. Get him in a bad mood and he'd tear strips off you for wearing the wrong shirt.

He showed me the Himber Vanish, so I'm always grateful for that.

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Re: Sad News from Davenport's Magic in London

Postby Bob Farmer » January 23rd, 2020, 4:29 pm

Ian: I changed the Himber vanish, I think. As he originally taught it to me, the hands were held up, but when I do it, my left hand is flat on the table, or if standing, completely horizontal with the palm up. The left hand does not move at all, it just closes. If you move the left hand, the persistence of vision effect is destroyed.

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Re: Sad News from Davenport's Magic in London

Postby Q. Kumber » January 23rd, 2020, 5:31 pm

Davenport's in Great Russell Street felt like a magic shop. Ideally located across from the British Museum, it did a good trade purveying jokes and simple tricks to busloads of visiting schoolchildren and of course, tourists. These mostly vanished when they moved underground.

On my first visit to London in 1974, besides Davenport's, there was Ken Brooke's Magic Place and Oscar Oswald's Magical Mart, the latter located in a basement on Meard Street. You had to press the correct bell for the upper floors were inhabited by those ladies who earn their daily bread at night. Ron McMillan was also in business in Clerkenwell. Later we had Alan Alan's Magic Spot ("go look in the window") and Repro 71 may already have been operating (not sure when they started) Though I never visited their premises, there was Jack Hughes and Sheila Terry (Miss Terry Magic Studio) and possibly others.

Sadly now, it is just International Magic https://www.internationalmagic.com

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Re: Sad News from Davenport's Magic in London

Postby erdnasephile » January 23rd, 2020, 8:37 pm

Bill Mullins wrote:The best magic shop I ever went into reeked of cigarette smoke (I can still tell books I bought there 10 years ago), and had a pig running around inside of it (Denny & Lee's in Baltimore).


Roger that. (My Tarbell 6 smells awful)

I miss that dude.

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Re: Sad News from Davenport's Magic in London

Postby Edwin Corrie » January 24th, 2020, 6:45 am

Q. Kumber wrote:Later we had Alan Alan's Magic Spot ("go look in the window") and Repro 71 may already have been operating (not sure when they started)


I seem to remember reading or being told that the "71" was because they started in 1971 - and also that "Repro" was because at first they were selling mainly reproductions of old magic posters.

Lots of great memories of all those old shops. At least we still have International, but let's hope Davenports manage to find new premises soon. My older daughter is at university in London at the moment, and I have to say it was because of their location that I didn't want to ask her to get me things from Davenports.

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Re: Sad News from Davenport's Magic in London

Postby Dave Le Fevre » January 24th, 2020, 7:36 am

I met Bobby Bernard briefly. In three words - knowledgeable, helpful, irascible.


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