Aim to conjure up magical attraction

ED FOSS Magic has waved its wand over Roy Davenport's family for more than a century – and now he wants to conjure up a distinctive tourist attraction for Norfolk.

ED FOSS

Magic has waved its wand over Roy Davenport's family for more than a century – and now he wants to conjure up a distinctive tourist attraction for Norfolk.

The 32-year-old, who has been involved with magic almost all of his life, is determined to build a magic complex, intended to incorporate a museum, theatre, hotel and restaurant.

Since the late 19th century, the Davenport family, well known in the magic world, has built up an extensive collection of memorabilia.

Their long list of mementoes includes a pile of letters from master illusionist Harry Houdini and a copy of Scot's Discoverie of Witchcraft, a famous 1584 book containing some of the earliest descriptions of trickery.

It is around this collection that Mr Davenport wants to create the museum and other attractions. And to kick-start the plan, he will launch the production of an annual magic show in December at a North Norfolk theatre.

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“My great grandfather Lewis Davenport was a professional magician and businessman,” explained Mr Davenport.

“He started buying and trading in magic supplies in the late 1800s.

“Since then the family has collected an enormous amount of memorabilia to do with magic, including old tricks, books, letters and photographs.

“The collection is spread around Norfolk, London and Cambridgeshire, much of it in storage. The plan is to bring it to the public and bring life to it.”

Many of the tricks have not been performed for decades and Mr Davenport hopes to put them on working display, not simply have them in glass cases for viewing.

“Magic is a living art, it would be tragic if these tricks were static and behind ropes.

“We feel we are looking after these pieces on behalf of the magical community.

“Most collectors focus on one particular theme within the magic world, but the breadth of this collection is what makes it so special.

“And we haven't even opened some of the boxes!”

Mr Davenport, who lives in White Horse Common, near North Walsham, said he felt the plan was realistic, even if it took many years.

He hoped to see something up and running in five or 10 years, but was prepared to wait longer than that if necessary.

The long-term plan starts with a variety show at Holt later in the year, when Mr Davenport holds the Christmas Wonder Show at the Auden Theatre in Holt.

Davenport's Christmas Wonder Show will run from December 19 to January 1.

Tickets – £12 adults, £8 children, plus discounts for concessions and group bookings – can be bought from the box office on 01692 405254 or Starlings in Holt.

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