A Canning Town Man and an International Magic Shop.
Located in historical Clerkenwell, there is the only on street Magic Shop in London. It sells a very large stock of magic tricks, books, tutorial dvds, card and coin tricks and magic accessories for all levels of skill. International Magic is a family run business, it has been in existence for over 50 years and it was established by a Canning Town man and is today run by his son.
The shop’s founder Ron MacMillan, was a French Polisher from Canning Town. He was also a successful footballer whose career was cut short when in 1950, he was diagnosis TB. In the operation that followed, Ron had a lung removed but he must have been due a bit of luck, as he caught the eye of a young nurse, Teresa, while in hospital. She nursed him through the operation while he entertained her turning coins in his fingers with eye-catching dexterity. To help Ron pass the time in hospital, Teresa bought him a magic book, “It’s Easier Than You Think,” by Geoffrey Buckingham. The book changed his life as Ron discovered he was a natural at conjuring and he spent his recuperation practising magic tricks and amusing the other patients.
Ron MacMillan began his new career entertaining dockers in clubs, pubs and on ships as the “The Man With The Golden Hands” His reputation grew and he was soon playing in some of London’s biggest venues, performing in front of the Kray twins and Diana Dors. Ron’s tour-de-force was to produce sixteen billiard balls out of the air – more than any conjurer had done before or since.
Ron was admired by many of the eras best magicians including Tommy Cooper, Henk Meesters, Bobby Barnard and Graham Desmond. He enjoyed a successful stage career until the late fifties, when touring became too much for him. So, in 1957, he opened International Magic in Saffron Hill, Clerkenwell, moving to the current site, 89, Clerkenwell Road, London, EC1R 5BX. in 1961. Ron and Teresa got married and had three children. One of those children, Martin MacMillan (below) runs the shop today.
When Martin was asked if he knew the secret of his fathers famous billiard ball trick, he said ” while it was in greater part testimony to his extraordinary talent at legerdemain and, while I should not wish to give the game away, I think we may applaud him for making such ingenious use of the cavity in his chest that was the legacy of his illness.”
The International Magic Shop (above)
Address: 89 Clerkenwell Road, London, EC1R 5BX.
Open Monday to Friday from 11.30am to 6pm and
Saturdays from 11.30am to 4pm.