The very beginning of The Order of The Magi in Manchester 1909

The Order of The Magi is one of the oldest magical societies in the U.K. and has an extensive archive of historical documents dating back to the establishment of the society in 1909.

Members of The Order of The Magi stood outside The Deansgate Hotel, Manchester
(date circa 1909-1914)

Here is a article published in “Wizard Magazine” about inaugural meeting of The Order of The Magi just 1 month after it’s founding:

A Manchester Magical Society

A month ago Mr. G.W. Panter, M.A. (Member of Inner Magic Circle) conceived the idea of forming a Magical Society for Manchester and district.

With this end in view, he arranged with Mr. Waite, magic dealer, of Peter Street, Manchester, to display a notice asking all those willing to join to give in their names.

As a result of this, on the 11th inst. a most enthusiastic meeting was held at the “Cities Hotel,” Deansgate, Manchester, at which about 30 conjurers attended.

It was decided to form a Magical Society, and Mr. G.W. Panter, M.A. was unanimously elected President, Mr. Waite, Hon. Treasurer and Librarian, and Mr. T.H. Halsall, Junr., Hon Sec. (pro tem.).

Mr. Panter spoke about the objects of a magical society, and referred to the success of the British Magical Society, and the Magic Circle; he also read a very interesting letter which he had received from Mr. Fred Walker (Hon. Sec. of the B.M.S.), wishing the new society every success.

Mr. T.H Halsall, Junr, (Hon. Sec.) also read several letters from conjurers anxious to join., but, owing to engaements, unable to attend the meeting.

Speeches were given by Mr. Fredrick W. Collins, Mr. L.M. Varney, Mr. Waite, Mr. Thomas French, Mr. Wildman, Mr. Ritherdon, Mr. J.W. Riley, and others, who all spoke as to the advisability of working together.

Business being suspended, Mr. A. Buckle obliged with a few card tricks, introducing a very pleasing and novel effect by fanning a quantity of cards and making them grow smaller, and finally disappear, bringing them back again to their original position, electing a round of applause for this clever sleight.

Mr J.W. Riley then being called upon gave a monologue, entitled “Oh Memory” in which the speech and mannerisms of an old man were portrayed to the letter.

Mr. Sugden then gave a recital from “The Merchant of Venice,” the rendering of which proved him to be a talented artist.

Mr. E. Wilburt gave the passing of 12 cards from hand to pocket, which as an example of Digital Dexterity left nothing to be desired.

Mr. T.H. Halsall Junr., then presented the passing of coins from left hand to tumbler held in right hand; he proved himself to be a master of coins, and Mr. Whitehead showed no mean ability with cards in the Four Ace Trick.

A few of those present gave their experiences with children in the course of entertaining, which were very amusing.

A meeting of the Council was arranged for the 13th inst., at which Mr Halsall, on account of business, wished to resign the secretaryship, and Mr. J.W. Riley, being asked to take the position (subject to the sanction of the members) decided to accept.

Anyone interested in magic residing in Manchester district, and wishing to join the society, are kindly requested to send in their names to the Hon. Sec., J.W. Riley, De Mcglio, Eccles, Manchester