North Walsham attraction Davenport’s Magic Kingdom closes after legal bill
A magic-themed family attraction in North Walsham has been placed into administration after a legal dispute.
An ongoing dispute with a former consultant at Davenport's Magic Kingdom resulted in a legal bill of nearly £60,000 which led to the business being unable to continue trading, according to liquidators.
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.
The directors have appointed Jamie Playford, of Leading Corporate Recovery, as liquidator.
Prior to opening in May 2013, the Davenport family committed over £1m to building the attraction.
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In 2015, visitor numbers decreased and operational costs had increased, causing some cash flow difficulties, said Mr Playford.
The business sought a financial rescue package from the director and his family and friends in order to fund ongoing trading, he said, meaning the firm had accumulated creditors of £1.7m, of which £1.4m was owed to the Davenport family.
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The closure resulted in two immediate redundancies although other staff had been laid off over recent months.
Fourth-generation magician and current managing director Roy Davenport, is currently in talks with Mr Playford and is hoping to produce a rescue package.
Mr Davenport said: 'Of course it is very unfortunate to have to go through this process.
'I am grateful to everyone who has supported us in so many ways over the last years.
'We are putting all our efforts into a possible rescue package and are hopeful that we can save our unique British magic collection and continue to make it accessible to all.'
Mr Playford said: 'It is always sad to see a local attraction such as this forced into liquidation, however the local community have expressed their support for the Davenport family and so we are hopeful that a rescue package can be finalised shortly.
'We are looking at the detail of the proposals and hope to make a decision in the next week or so.'
In 2015 some items from the Davenport family's magic collection, which dates back to 1898, were lent to the film studio behind Michael Caine and Daniel Radcliffe film Now You See Me: The Second Act.