Ken Brooke

Ken Brooke
was my hero, friend, mentor and magical guide. He teaching had a huge influence on the UK magic scene. Many of the top UK people in magic including Tommy Cooper, Paul Daniels, David Berglas, Geoffrey Durham, Wayne Dobson, Andrew O’Connor, Paul Stone and me all had reason to be grateful to him. He was Yorkshire man born in 1920. He ran a magic shop in Bradford for many years. I first met him at a Unique Magic one day convention at the Midland Hotel in Birmingham. I was about 11 years old at the time and watched him all day and never left his side. To this day I believe I still owe my life style to him. At the time he was working for Harry Stanley owner of  Unique Magic.

He left Harry Stanley and set up his own Ken Brooke’s Magic Place. I was privileged to receive tuition from him for many years both at his place of work and his home. My father put me on the train in Stourbridge and Ken met me off the train in London to make sure I was safe.

He really cared about his magic and his instructions were probably the best in the world and he also followed them up with working ideas as they came along.
He did not suffer fools gladly and if he took a dislike to you that was it, but his generosity among his friends was tremendous.

Ken Brooke was born in Leeds on November 3rd 1920. Uncle Walter showed him his first trick and as a school boy he sold magic on the street markets. His father paid for him to have lessons with Walter Jeans. Other early influences included Albrt Verity and Jack Le Dair. His mother died when he was nine years old and he left school to work in the tailoring trade during which time he made many friends in the Jewish community.
During WW11 Ken served in the RAF in the Western Desert, North Africa and then in Italy. My father was a Desert Rat and I believe that mutual respect was the reason helped me so much in the first place. During this time he made friends with the likes of Tommy Cooper and Robert Harbin.
After the war he worked as a dealer demonstrator for Paul Veroni at the Veroni House of Magic in Bradford. He also set up his own business there which went bust and he lost everything. In 1960 Ken received a Performing Fellowship from the Acadamy of Magical Arts. In 1961 he received a Diplome d'Honneur Award by the Federation Internationale des Societes Magicque (FISM) and in 1975 a Special Fellowship Award from the Acadame of Magical Arts.Harry Stanley of the Unique Magic Studio brought him to London to work for him. It was during this time that I first met Ken. Ken was managing the Studio and working the cabaret circuit.
Ken left Harry and set up his own studio in 1966 with his friend Frank Farrow called Ken Brooke's Magic Place which became a magnet for magicians from all over the world. It was here that I was introduced to Tony Slydini and spent many hours with him learning the coins thru the table. I still have the six silver dollars and an English penny that Tony gave to me after his lecture tour.

Harry Stanley sold his business to Edwin Hooper of the Supreme Magic Company who produced a book Ken Brooke's Magic The Unique Years. Ken was not happy with this as he gained nothing from the book. His friend Paul Stone was selling the book and Ken encouraged his freind to purchase it from Paul and not Edwin. This letter was sent out with every book that was sold by Paul.

Ken in retirement with his famous Yorkshire Pudding.

Ken passed away on 26th February 1983 but there will always be a place in my heart for him. R.I.P.