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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Flavors from the past... » » Davenports (10 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Fire Starter
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Well anyone who has ever visited this shop will know that it on the underground, opposite Charing Cross Rail Station.I have not been too the shop for many years now and I was quite shocked to see all the homeless drunks weeing them self and drug addicts hanging opposite the shop on the stairs when I was in London yesterday that I turned right round and gave it a miss,oh dear the place is a **** hole and they must be loosing trade.
Karl M
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I went once last year when I did a london trip and it stank of dettol a bit out side in the coridor bitbut it was ok inside and there was lots to see and the asistants were helpful
Fire Starter
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Yes the shop is not too bad karl a little pricey and I have been blanked a few times lol,but never got as far as the door as I was looked up and down by the dossers outside and I did not fancy my gold watch being nicked lol.
Zedd
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Yeah - was there some weeks ago...homeless in the corridor....guy in the shop was nice but from several item from their HP there was none in the shop. So I will NEVER visit them again....a pity, since the shop itself look nice.....
pegasus
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Why post that on the latest and greatest?
JackMagic
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Davenport has been at the same place for years !

I saw Larry Becker lecture and that must have been at least 25 Years ago

I don't think they ever have needed passing trade it is mostly mail order
C.J.
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I haven't lived in the UK for 17 years, but even 20 years ago when I went to Davenports (alone, as a 12 year old), that deserted underground arcade provided a shelter for homeless people. It's the nature of the world, sadly, and I am shocked that people are so critical that they would allow their prejudice to stop them from going to a well-run, professional, century-old magic shop because they're scared of people who are less fortunate. Yeah, it smells of wee in the arcade, but (unless their standards have dropped considerably in the past 2 decades) the shop doesn't.
Connor Jacobs - The Thought Sculptor
Mundus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur
Be fondly remembered.
minty
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There have been times when I've wanted to purchase an item quickly, and haven't had time to wait for it to be delivered via mail order. So I've just popped into Davenports on my way to the train station at a weekend, and come away with exactly what I needed. I've always found the staff there to be very friendly and helpful. It seems that many brick and mortar stores are struggling to stay open and to compete with online businesses these days. I think it's wonderful that we still have a couple of magic shops in London, and one located slap bang in the centre of the West End. I dread to think what a street-level shopfront would cost in that part of London. I've never once had a problem on my way into or out of their shop, have never been hassled by any members of the public, and have never felt concerned for my personal safety. I sincerely hope that people will continue to support brick and mortar stores such as Davenports, so that they can remain viable and open for business.
Karl M
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Quote:
On Oct 2, 2016, C.J. wrote:
I haven't lived in the UK for 17 years, but even 20 years ago when I went to Davenports (alone, as a 12 year old), that deserted underground arcade provided a shelter for homeless people. It's the nature of the world, sadly, and I am shocked that people are so critical that they would allow their prejudice to stop them from going to a well-run, professional, century-old magic shop because they're scared of people who are less fortunate. Yeah, it smells of wee in the arcade, but (unless their standards have dropped considerably in the past 2 decades) the shop doesn't.

i agee with your points of view when I weent their I chatted to some of the home less people outside they are nice really just some were unfortunate and got in a situation they didn't want to but no need to be nasty about it
Zedd
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Just as a clarification: I don't have anything against the homeless ( a friend of mine is a "real" punk and living more or less on the streets)!! I was mainly complaining about the discrepancy between the many items on the website and the fact that none of them were available in the shop!
JamieD
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I've been into magic since I received my first magic set at the age of 6. Like so many other magicians, I literally loved everything to do with magic. I started my online magical journey at the age of 14/15 and began to learn about magic shops and magic communities. So imagine my absolute delight to find out there was a magic shop at the end of a 15 minute train journey and supposedly it was one of the finest in the world. When I was 16, I visited Davenports for the first time and wow it was incredible! It was literally like something out of a film. It smelt a little dusty, looked a little bit old fashioned and felt in every way like it was almost mythical. It was absolutely amazing. Behind the glass cabinets, hundreds of not thousands of tricks and knowledge. I got to knew Daniel who used to work there well and found out he lived just a stones throw away from me. Id go in there every other week, see what was new, buy some dvd or trick that Dan recommended to me and that's when magic really started up for me. This is a building that's obviously experienced a lot in its day and seen some truly great magicians walk in and out of its doors. It's been used in feature films and the hallway directly outside was even used to film a James Bond sequence not to long ago.

However, It's decline has been so incredibly heartbreaking. I have had numerous bad experiences in there with certain members of staff and been thrown out for simply discussing magic. Talking to the staff about the latest tricks and what they have in is apparently distracting them from their work and I should leave. It got to a point that I was scared to go in their for fear of being humiliated. Baring in mind, at one point they were stocking one of my products! Since then, I have sadly stayed away from here. I visit from time to time to see Dan Young who is an incredibly lovely guy but also a brilliant talent. On my recent visits, Ive too felt uneasy about going down there but sadly, this isn't Davenports fault. Its just a huge shame. Its still a dream of mine to lecture there because it really does mean an awful lot to me! Its just a shame the experiences I had there were so hurtful.

Either way, I too hope bricks and mortar shops stay around and I sincerely hope Davenports remains a mythical secret of Londons underground magic scene.

Jamie Daws
At 8.00pm, ten people sat down for dinner and by 10.00pm, eight of them were dead... The Deceased.
magicmarkworldwide2
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Davenports is one of the worst places I have ever visited... I went there last year with my girl. Certainly the worst magic shop I have experienced. The staff were totally rude, miserable as sin and couldn't even speak. I was shocked... I was so excited to be in a bricks and mortar shop but the staff were quite simply rubbish human beings. Couldn't believe it, just didn't want to know, didn't want to help me - I even questioned what was wrong with them. I even asked them to show my girl a magic trick because she was excited and they refused... I was gobsmacked.

Awful Awful place and Awful staff - will never return again. I hope it doesn't last much longer - they don't deserve an outlet.
magicmarkworldwide2
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... I hasten to add... I'd rather spend an hour with the heroin addicts outside and swap dirty syringes than see their ugly mugs ever again. SHAMEFUL SHAMEFUL PEOPLE.
Karl M
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Tell us how you relally feel magicmarkworldwide2, lol!
charlies_hat
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When I was a teenage magic buyer, the choice was Davenports or Supreme, and I was a Davenports fan. I seem to remember having to pay for the Davenports catalogue (probably got a couple in the attic). A trip to London and going to Charing Cross was a truly wonderful thing, and I have since taken all my kids there. When I was about 11 (early 80's) there was a old guy in there (not behind the counter) who chatted to me for ages and showed me all kinds of coin / cigarrette stuff, truly inspiring.

I hate to say it but I'm amazed it's still there. Whilst ever it is though, I'll always find it hard not to visit whenever I'm nearby.
Fire Starter
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Yup, sorry pegasus posted in the wrong place.
1 I have not slagged the shop off.
2 Nor have I slagged the poor homeless off,I ,that's ME felt uncomftable, sorry I am not rough and tough like some on here,must be a scardie cat,just saying.
3 I have had a few bad experiences using the shop in the past.
4 Now I know why I do not post on here much.
Bye
Bob_Hummer
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Check out International Magic in London instead.

It is where all the cool magicians go. Much better shop all round.

Plus you will probably get to meet Jerry Sadowitz - one of the greatest card guys in history.
Fire Starter
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Quote:
On Oct 3, 2016, Bob_Hummer wrote:
Check out International Magic in London instead.

It is where all the cool magicians go. Much better shop all round.

Plus you will probably get to meet Jerry Sadowitz - one of the greatest card guys in history.


It is a good shop Bob,not been there in many a year, I mostly shop at Alakazam now and I go down rather then shop online as the wife can't see to much how much I spend,lol.
Ray Chelt
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I live in the middle of the country so when I get to a bricks and mortar shop it used to be by going North and to Tam Shepherds in Glasgow run by a great gentleman, Roy Walton.

One of the best card guys around and a fabulous person.
jbadman
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Davenports has never been so good as when Dean and Marc were in there. Absolute legends, the pair of them - and I'm absolutely certain I'd have not got hooked on Magic as hard as I did, if they hadn't created such a brilliant atmosphere in the store. Unfortunately, so I hear, Betty wasn't so happy with there being such a brilliant 'session' style atmosphere in there, hence its far more stark, businesslike feel these days.

Don't let the odd turd on the stairs put you off though - let's face it, you have a lot more of them in your magic drawer at home!
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mike donoghue
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I must admit that when I regurlarly worked in London a few years back, I to got a bit of a shock when I saw where Davenports was located & I saw the people outside.

Obviously Davenports had been in my mind as the place to go as the shop & it's owners were very much a part of magic history.

Nevermind, I have been several times & although I didn't feel warmth emenating from my visit, the staff were really fine with me. Very business like, but really most people from the North East are probably strangers to them & there is no way that anyone meeting a customer fleetingly can assess their experience & magical knowledge.

Can't expect people to be as friendly as the Magicbox crew or Mr Nardi of Alakazam Magic. People that we know are often more freindly & warm. That is just human nature.

Mike Donoghue
mike donoghue
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Excuse my usual typo's . It wouldn't be me if I didn't do that.

Mike donoghue
deanbarlow
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I have probably been to Davenports 5 or 6 times over the last few years and each time I have entered the shop I have been met with a response along the lines of 'what do you want in here - we are not interested in selling you anything as everything we sell is secret'. I would not recommend anyone to go into the shop if you genuinely want to have a look at what is on offer and would like to chat to the staff about what they have for sale. For this type of service (in London) go to International Magic where you get a friendly welcome and advice on what to buy and not feel as though you are putting the staff out by simply being a customer. Alternativley if you are willing to venture to the outskirts of London you can visit Propdog where you will find a Magic Shop which you wont to leave. In additon, for those of you who go to the Blackpool Convention the Davenport's stand operate the same 'customer service' - it is like they don't want to sell you anything and look at you as if to say why should we allow you to buy our products.
It is such a shame as the Davenports name has a long history in British magic yet they are failing in customer service.
Karl M
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The assistent I saw in davenports was a tal guy and was like he was realy depressed about some thing,not very chatty and fiddling with cards most of time I was there but he was helpfull when I asked him some questions about new stuff
hackmonkey
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I am incredibly surprised at these comments about the staff! I visited Davenports many times recently after spending 6 years in Australia. I'm not sure who you guys met, but the staff have always been wonderful to me. They even let me 'try out' a few products to see if they fit me, a card to wallet and a ring flight. I took the ring flight and some basic supplies. No weirdness about 'secrets'.

Not just me I have many times seen them demonstrating basic effects to groups of kids and having fun.

When I have taken friends there and asked them to 'show them a trick' they have obliged and done the classics, such as 'quarter squeeze' and dynamic coins. Also had little sessions with them on card moved here and there.
I agree Betty can be a bit 'stand-offish' and do weird things like turn the lights off when it closing time while customers are still in the store!
But overall the guys on there are great.
Maybe the have brought in new staff recently, although there is def one guy there that has been there over 10 years.
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Stu Montgomery
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Quote:
On Oct 3, 2016, Ray Chelt wrote:
I live in the middle of the country so when I get to a bricks and mortar shop it used to be by going North and to Tam Shepherds in Glasgow run by a great gentleman, Roy Walton.

One of the best card guys around and a fabulous person.


Excellent shop! Roy wasn't in the last time I dropped by, but at 84 I guess he deserves a day off Smile
"Round about what is, lies a whole mysterious world of might be" Longfellow.
Thorn (UK)
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Some 20 years ago I was a Covent Garden street performer, so Davenports was a very handy regular point of call for me in those days. Even back then the area outside was a hangout for the homeless, but that's just London for you. The poor guys have to go somewhere! I never once found them threatening or intimidating though, in general I've always found them to be understandably a rather sad and quiet bunch who just want to be left alone!
Whatever anyone's thoughts on Davenports as a shop, the homeless people outside is quite a separate subject.
Nowadays though, probably like most of us, I do most of my magic shopping online. When I'm in London and need something in a hurry I do pop in to Davenports, but I tend to find they don't stock the things I want anymore. Whether this is because they have a more limited range, or just that the things I want these days are more obscure I can't say!
RevConfused
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I tried to visit this place in February.
I checked the opening times, arrived, was hassled by aggressive homeless drunks at the entrance...went downstairs, they were closed.
A small handwritten note said they were opening an hour later, so I milled round Covent Garden for a bit, went back, drunks even more aggressive, still not open.
30 minutes after the advertised and delayed opening time, no opening, so I went elsewhere and will continue to do so.

Being a long standing shop doesn't give you the right to do as you please to the detriment of customer service, sadly something it appears at least 2 London shops should learn.
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