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Neil Weaver

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Neil Weaver
DiedDecember 28, 1952

Neil Weaver (?-1952) was the London correspondent for Mahatma.


Weaver was the Magic Circle's chief founder and was honorary Vice-President for many years.

At an early age Weaver was exposed to magic, his father, whose family ran the Raffaelle Shoe Gallery in Streatham, London, was an amateur conjurer and held an 'open house' each Sunday for any professional magicians performing locally in the variety theatres.

Later Weaver, worked in the family business as well as being a successful 'Society Entertainer'[1] and the London correspondent for the American magic magazine, Mahatma.

When Weaver announced that he was thinking of starting a magic society in London, his friend Martin Chapender started collecting all the names and addresses of magicians he came across when touring. Adding those to the names that Weaver collected, the list amounted to around fifteen hundred in total.

After the unexpected death of Chapender in February of 1905, Weaver placed the following notification in the May issue of the Mahatma;

Mr. Neil Weaver, Mahatma's London correspondent, is forming

a society of London magicians, which will have for one of its objects - the perpetuation of the memory of the late Mr. Martin Chapender. This organisation will be conducted on the lines of The Society of American Magicians and many of the most prominent ladies and gentlemen in the profession have given the movement support. Mr. Weaver will be pleased to hear from any lady or gentleman, English or American, amateur or otherwise, who would like to join the society. He will be only too happy to supply all particulars to all inquiries addressed

to him at ‘Shrewsbury,’ Oakdale Road, S. W., London, England.

Now with added zeal and the help of two friends, Ernest Benson and Ernest Henry Adams, Weaver started to initiate the formation of the society. However, Weaver thought Benson was trying to ‘take-over’ the society and in a letter Weaver stated that until a committee was formed to run the club then,

‘…For the time being, this is a one man club, and those gentlemen who have joined me in this enterprise will have to be guided by, and fall in with my wishes absolutely.’

Weaver went on to say that once the society was on a sound footing he would ‘…give up the reins…’ Benson obviously resigned his post as his name did not subsequently appear in any papers regarding the society.

Herbert J. Collings, an old school friend, joined Weaver and Adams and an informal meeting with thirteen magicians was held on the first of June 1905, there it was decided to proceed with the proposal and the first General Meeting took place on the first of July at Pinoli’s Restaurant in Wardour Street.[2][3][4]

Weaver suggested the society's name should be the Martin Chapender Society, but at one of the first meetings the wish for a personalised name was not supported. Louis Nikola suggested the Magic Circle pointing out that Magic Circle had the same initials as Martin Chapender.


  1. These were either professionals or amateurs who would literally entertain the wealthy in their own homes at dinner parties or such-like. E C Lewis, ‘Background to British Magic.’, The Linking Ring 70 (1991): 58–60.
  2. Edwin A Dawes and Michael Bailey, Circle Without End: The Magic Circle 1905-2005 (London: Jeremy Mills Publishing, 2005).
  3. P.T. Selbit, ‘The Magic Circle’, The Wizard 1, no. 1 (September 1905): 10.
  4. Ernest Henry Adams, ‘The Magic Circle of Great Britain’, The Magician Monthly 1, no. 8 (20 July 1905): 87.