First look at Magic Kingdom planned for North Walsham

Plans for a magic museum in North Walsham have been released, featuring a theatre capable of seating 380 visitors, a restaurant and gift shop.

Performer Roy Davenport, who is the fourth generation of magician in his family, has been planning the tourist attraction for five years.

A planning application for the development was put in to North Norfolk District Council last week, which will need the backing of councillors before work can start.

The Magic Kingdom plans include a room called St George's Theatre, named after St George's Hall in London, which held magic performances from 1905 to 1935.

Mr Davenport's great grandfather Lewis performed there over 3,000 times, and the original stage and backdrop from the venue will be used in its construction.

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Mr Davenport plans to exhibit his collection of magic memorabilia at the new centre, including letters from Harry Houdini, props belonging to Tommy Cooper and the first book written on magic in English in 1584, Discoverie of Witchcraft.

The venue will also feature a shop and a restaurant, which will sell local produce to visitors.

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It is hoped that a total of 12 jobs, some full time and some part time, would be created by the development on the former Crane Fruehauf site on Cromer Road in North Walsham.

Mr Davenport, who lives in North Walsham, said he had been amazed by the support for his plan.

'I'm humbled by the backing I'm getting from people in and around North Walsham, with people coming up to me in the street and wishing me luck with the project,' he said.

'I have had people coming to me and offering to help in any way they can, often for free.

'That was something I never really considered would happen, I'm doing this to preserve my family's magic collection, to save four generations of history.

'I didn't conceive it would have such a local appeal and that anyone else would want to help me, but they have done so and that's been wonderful.

'This is turning out to be something more than just my dream, it's also a focus for the people of North Walsham,' he added.

'I shall go headlong into the next phase of planning while the planning application is dealt with.

'There's still a lot to be done.'

Although he is currently waiting on a decision from the council on the scheme before it can go ahead, he thanked staff at the authority for their help and support.

'The plans may look fairly basic, but the collection itself will bring the blank spaces to life,' he said.

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