The Modern Mystic League

Copyright © 2023 MeMeL

Design by Allan Clarke.  All Rights Reserved

Blackburn & District Society of Magicians


The Modern Mystic League was founded in 1914. The first meeting being on February 12th, at 54 Galligreaves Street, Blackburn (the home of Mr Thomas Jennings)
The invitation to form a Society of Magicians in Blackburn was made by Mr John J Wareing.

Founder members of the Modern Mystic League

John J Wareing (Founder and first President of the League)
W Beaver   W Bamber   Thomas Livesey   R Denham   Thomas Jennings   James Dobson   Myron Carruthers
J Stanworth   Albert Chambers was the next member to be elected, on the 5th May, 1914.

To date, there have been almost 270 members of the Modern Mystic League. During this time, we have had over 60 Presidents, 16 Chairmen, 20 Secretary’s, 16 Concert Secretary’s, 14 Treasurers, 12 Magazine editors, 22 Librarians and 2 Webmasters.

Our longest ever serving member was Jack Ledwick, who had over 70 years membership before he passed away in 2009. Current subscribing members have over 860 years in service between them.Bryce Lea is our current longest serving member with Ron Baron and Roger Woods, both of whom have almost 50 years service.

Back in 1914 the annual subscription was 2 shillings and six pence (that’s 12.5p in new money!) Using average earnings inflation figures, this value today would equate to £76.80. So it seems like we continue to give good value.

The Modern Mystic League has awarded Honorary Vice Presidencies to members and non-members who in the view of the League have made significant contributions to the Society in particular and to the world of magic in general.

Our current Vice President is Debbie McGee.
The Centenary celebration: 2014

Members of the Society had looked forward with anticipation to the Centenary Year and a great deal of work took place on the special subcommittee planning the events of the year - particularly a Centenary Magic Festival in March, 2014. This chapter will concentrate on the Centenary Year which was a very special and momentous time for the Society.

The year began with the AGM when Trevor Dawson was installed as President for a third time at the start of the Centenary year. In a short speech he thanked everyone and outlined the events taking place during the Centenary Magic Festival. Trevor was also presented with a special scroll signed by all the members present to celebrate sixty years of membership of the Society. The winner of the Les Brooks Memorial Shield was Tony Hodgson, author of a quirky and amusing series of articles in The Memel. Junior member Lorenzo Carcione was presented by Maurice Howarth with the Junior trophy and a magic book for his improvement and dedication to magic during the previous twelve months. Ian Brown joined the committee as David Snell stepped down due to other commitments. All the other officers and committee members were re-elected en bloc.

On 9th February, nearly 100 years to the day of the founding of the Society, a very special Centenary party took place at MML Headquarters. Everyone cheered the Centenary and had a wonderful time with magic from a number of members, the cutting of a special party cake, lots of party food and the showing of a DVD of past members.In addition, photographs were taken by Joe Gilmour of the members and junior members. The volunteer performers were David Snell (a rope routine), Bob Benyon  ( a paper tearing routine with humorous patter), Paul Guy (lettered cards placed into a frame in an order determined by the spectators spelt the name of John Pye), junior member Lorenzo Carcione (the professor’s nightmare rope trick), Mo Howarth (Chinese sticks), Norman Greenhalgh (a mind reading dog puppet), Ron Baron (amusing Lancashire rhyming patter to a block-off routine), Brian Taylor (the torn and restored newspaper), Trevor Greenwood (a ring on string routine) and Peter Dean ( a card trick which involved the whole audience!). The DVD of members who have passed away showed Bert Grant, Jack Ledwick, Les Brooks, Reg Parkinson, Sid Booker, Peggy Baldwin, Harold Taylor and Roy Widdup. The Centenary President Trevor Dawson cut the birthday cake to the tune of ‘Happy Birthday’ on the violin from Roger Woods. It was a packed afternoon but a very memorable one in the history of the Society.