Sign on
Mr Richard Carter A Ritson MIMC
Dates: 1896 - 1969
Biographical Account: Dick Ritson was a Sheffield born semi-professional vaudeville magician, performing throughout the 1920s and 1930s.  At the time, it was common for stage magicians to present themselves as mysterious and exotic, so Ritson took on the persona of an oriental mystic, calling himself Wu Ling, the Magical Mandarin.  Ritson specialised in Chinese effects and illusions, particularly the 'Floating Ball' trick.  He was an important figure in magical society.  When he wasn't performing, Ritson was a bird and seed merchant.  Many sources site him as an avid collector of magical memorabelia and a fount of knowledge on all things magical.  He was a founder member of the Sheffield Magic Circle and involved with the Hocus Pocus Society.  In 1958, he was was awarded membership to the inner magic circle with gold star, a highly prestigeous award only bestowed on the very best performing magicians.  He co-authored a series of articles for the Wizard magazine called "Chats for Conjuring Cognoscenti" with Stanley Collins (aka Loo Sing).  In 1968, Ritson, answering a request in a local newspaper, from the museum for taxidermy , offered to sell his brown bear and a crocodile.  Ritson showed his experience in the public eye when he suggested to the director of museums that the press be contacted to create publicity around the new acquisitions.  The subsequent press coverage attracted the attention of students from Hull College students' Union, who mistakenly believed that Ritson's bear was one stolen from Hull by Sheffield University students.  Once the Hull students learnt of the true origin of the bear, they withdrew their accusation.
gPowered byeMuseum

Museums Sheffield

Trying something new can be a little bit scary, but what a great feeling when you make the connection. We're trying new things all the time and we want you to try them too, so come with us and we'll help connect you with art, nature, history, ideas - and each other.

Jump in. Discover something new.

Explore our site