Bertram Millidge

His first approach to Magic was at a very early age, when ill m bed with scarlet fever. They brought him a book from the public library, which turned out to be Hoffmann's Modern Magic. This gave him another fever, for which there is no known cure, and it is called Magic Fever. Whether any other borrowers caught scarlet fever was never traced !

Growing older, he was apprenticed in London, and leaving the works midday on Saturday, would rush like mad to Holborn before the conjuring shops closed, and spend all his pocket money on some conjuring trick or other. Often standing around there would be famous Magicians of the time, dressed in black coat and striped trousers, with white spats and monocle complete. He used to look at them with open mouth, and wondered who they might be. Naturally he was too timid to speak to them, and they were too engrossed talking shop to notice him.

Variety was then at its height. The Queens, Poplar; The Canningtown Imperial Palace; Ralph's on Victoria Dock Road; The Poplar and Ilford Hippodromes. The Stratford, Hackney and Holborn Empires, not forgetting the West End. All these were happy hunting grounds to view conjurers and magicians. St. Georges Hall found him there at every change of the programme, he imagines he must have seen all the magical stars of that day. The Maskelynes, Devant, Morrit, Owen Clark, Oswald Williams, Davenports, Bodie, Carmo De Biere, Fowler, Carl Hertz, Chung Ling Soo, Van Hoven, Carlton, Houdini, and a clever Australian card man, who tore a pack of cards into pieces, then from them built up any card called for. All these, and many more he cannot remember unless his memory is jogged !

His first magical show was at a garden party in Forest Gate in 1920 given in sympathy by an old school pal. He has a poster of this show still in his scrap book, along with a receipt for his first Magic Circle badge which Society he joined that year.

His business transferred him to the Midlands, and on arriving in Nottingham found he was the only member of a magical society in the district. Eventually "The Guild of Magicians" was founded, and he was its first Secretary. As time went on he became its First Hon. Vice President, and filled many offices in turn.






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