The Pentacle Club is one of the world's oldest magic societies, famous amongst amateur and professional magicians for its long history and sequence of famous members.
The Pentacle Club was founded in 1919 by Professor W W Rouse Ball, J H Johnson, C R Cosens, F J W Roughton and W I Grantham. The Club, consisting of members of Cambridge University, was a successor to "The Mystics", a pre-war club that ran from 1909 to 1914. Rouse Ball, the first President of the club, gathered support from across the university for the first meeting of the club, where the members "saw demonstrations of rope and card tricks, thimble and billiard ball manipulations". The initial subscription rate was half a crown a term.
During the 1920s, the Pentacle Club became increasingly well known on a national level, thanks in part to a sequence of guest visits to Cambridge, including Douglas Dexter and Nevil Maskelyne, the latter inviting the Pentacle Club to undertake a joint performance with the Magic Circle in London. During the Second World War, the club performed in aid of the Red Cross, with amateur magicians from the University of London, evacuated to Cambridge during the conflict, adding to the membership. In 1963 the club began to admit members from outside the University, leading to a slow change in the club's composition - over the last few decades the membership has been increasingly drawn from the Cambridge region, and less from undergraduates. The club retained its traditional links to the university, however, under the long presidency of Sir William Hawthorne, Master of Churchill College, Cambridge, well known for performing magic.
John Davenport became the club's President in 2008, taking over from Claude Perry.
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