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First national museum of magic opens in North Walsham

The British Magic Museum has opened in North Walsham. This is one of the artefacts, the Houdini cabinet. Picture: Roy Davenport

The British Magic Museum has opened in North Walsham. This is one of the artefacts, the Houdini cabinet. Picture: Roy Davenport

Archant

Britain’s first national museum of magic has opened in North Walsham, on the site of the former Davenport’s Magic Kingdom in Cromer Road.

Roy Davenport pictured at the former Davenport's Magic Kingdom in 2015.  Photo by Mark Bullimore Roy Davenport pictured at the former Davenport's Magic Kingdom in 2015. Photo by Mark Bullimore

The museum’s director is Roy Davenport who had to close the previous centre earlier this year after the attraction was placed into administration after a legal dispute.

Mr Davenport, who is a fourth-generation magician, said the new enterprise was completely different with a vast array of apparatus, ephemera, memorabilia, art and grand illusions on show. Many of these artefacts are unique.

He said: “It’s now of national importance and it’s the first time Britain has had a national magic museum. It houses one of the largest exhibitions of magic in the world.

“The purpose of the museum is to conserve, restore and recreate magic that has not seen the light of day for generations.

“Not only do visitors have the unique opportunity to experience the magic of a bygone age, but to experience the age itself, as the magic is brought back to life.

“I’m looking forward now and the focus is on the new museum.”

He said artefacts on show were designed and built by the greats of magic of the past and their craftsmen, reflecting a British expertise that has long been recognised around the world.

Ground-breaking illusions, such as the ‘Sawing a woman in half’ and the ‘Floating lady’, were invented within these shores.

And the museum makes this little-known history, covering some 450 years, available for everyone to understand and experience.

As reported, Davenport’s Magic Kingdom closed after an ongoing dispute with a former consultant resulted in a legal bill of nearly £60,000, which led to the business being unable to continue trading.

The attraction housed the Davenport family’s extensive magic collection of artefacts and memorabilia spanning almost 500 years, as well as providing an interactive space for museum displays, a magic theatre, gift shop and café.

Prior to opening in May 2013, the Davenport family committed over £1m to building the attraction.

The closure resulted in two immediate redundancies although other staff had been laid off before.

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