NEW TRICKS: The late John Penrose, member for 70 years, tests a trick with the help of Bryony Kay

NEW TRICKS: The late John Penrose, member for 70 years, tests a trick with the help of Bryony Kay

The Society was founded in 1938 and was called The Society of Eastern Magicians. Its activities were curtailed with the outbreak of the Second World War a year later but it was relaunched in 1945 as the Eastern Magic Circle. On January 5, 1948, it had yet another name change and became The Ilford Magical Society.

Over the years, the Society became known affectionately as TIMS and the acronym is now the title of its fortnightly newsletter for members.

The objects of the organisation are roughly the same as most, if not all, of the many magic societies throughout the world – to foster and encourage friendship and the art of magic.

In the early days of the society, the main committee members were called Grand Wizard, Vice Grand Wizard and Wizard. A secret knock on the door was required to enter the club room and if members dared to arrive late, they had to recite a poem of apology. This secret knock was also used before the toasts at the annual dinner until the 1970s when the ritual was abolished.

FIRST LADY: Mary Maskelyne was the Society's first patron in 1938. Photo courtesy The Dawes Collection

FIRST LADY: Mary Maskelyne was the Society’s first patron in 1938. Photo courtesy The Dawes Collection

Today, there are around 50 members – an all-time high – and enthusiasm is encouragingly high too. The Society is constantly developing with lots of new ideas contributed not just by newer members but by veteran members too.

Almost every week, members give up their time to present outside shows – maybe in hospitals, homes for elderly and disabled people, and for charitable organisations and good causes.

Members have staged several theatre shows in addition to their regular in-house activities which include fortnightly meetings with lectures by personalities from the world of magic.

Some of the finest displays of magic are seen during Society competitions, with an array of trophies and cups awarded to top performers.

Past president Bryan Porter said: “All in all, The Ilford Magical Society is an extremely vibrant,┬ámodern magical society whose members are justly proud of the fact that they are just that – members of The Ilford Magical Society.”