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Leamington and Warwick Magic Society

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The Leamington and Warwick Magic Society was founded in 1948 by Teddy Godfrey, a retired milkman (First President); Rex King, a schoolmaster; Colin Shaw, a commercial traveller; and Stewart Williams, an engineering draughtsman.

All four were originally members of the Coventry Magic Circle (known then as the Midland Magic Society), but with transportation being a major problem in those days, Godfrey suggested that they formed their own local Magic Society.

The first meeting took place at the White Horse Hotel, Clarendon Avenue in Leamington Spa, where the landlord allowed them to use the Smoke Room for their business if they we would regale the customers with close-up magic afterward.

Milton Woodward was elected president in 1963 and one of his first objectives was the identification of the Society with an official badge. Stewart Williams was requested to undertake the design. The original badge being in the form of an equilateral triangle bearing the title Leamington and Warwick Magic Society on the sides of the triangle. Each side of the triangle had a special significance and represented knowledge, endeavour and skill.

Some years later, a decision was made at Council level, to change the form of the badge to a circular shape and rename the Society Leamington and Warwick Magic Circle and it remained this way for some years until objections were raised by the Magic Circle at London which felt they had an exclusive right. The decision was taken to accede to their request and revert to the title Leamington and Warwick Magic Society though still on a circular badge.

The inner emblem of the modern magic wand with the serpent remained unchanged throughout, signifying the combination of the ancient magic arts and practices with modern magic methods and techniques and a description of the significance of the design and carefully chosen colors to complement it was to be later written into our initiation ceremony by the late E. Ray Griffiths, Associate Editor of Abracadabra.

In 1956 Milton Woodward negotiated and organized the transfer of the club to Leamington’s Regent Hotel situated centrally in the town on The Parade. Woodward also organized many magical soirées at The Regent with members and guest artistes playing to packed audiences. Their annual Banquet became a most elaborate and grand occasion with a succession of the mayors and mayoresses of Royal Leamington Spa sitting top-table as our guests of honor together with famous personalities from The Magic Circle, The International Brotherhood of Magicians, The British Magical Society as well as stars of television and members of other neighboring magic societies.

The Society awards each year the Frank Allen Cup and the President’s Shield for Close-up and General Magic.[1]