Friday, 31 May 2013


Hungerford Arcade is a very special place as our customers will tell you.  In particular, Wednesday was a special day at the Arcade, in fact, you could say it was a magical day! 

Magic happened before our very eyes as watching spellbound, playing cards appeared then vanished in a flash.  Stallholder Frances Jones, sat at a table studying the cards when, lo and behold, whoosh....she disappeared... wow!!  Who could be doing this?  Is someone playing tricks on us?  Suddenly, and without warning, two customers appeared at the desk - as did Frances!  They were husband and wife, magicians, Jean Purdy and Bob Sacco.  It was wonderful meeting them and having our own private show.  We can't wait for them to come back in August!

Jean and Bob are members of the prestigious society of magicians known the whole world over as The Magic Circle.  This society resides at The Centre for the Magic Arts in London and celebrates 100 years of membership of the top magicians who have been accepted as the best.  Jean is one of the country's leading lady magicians and one of the few ladies accepted into The Magic Circle.  She is also the Guinness Book of Records champion fire eater, and it is said her demonstrations are spectacular!

Jean has been in show business for over 50 years.  She has worked in the circus, television and theatre.  Also a member of the Fellowship of Christian Magicians, Jean, is a skilled puppeteer and uses her talent to spread the Gospel and gain the attention of young people, getting them into church.  The puppets, 'The Revd Neil Down' has a very distinctive northern accent (he is Jean's favourite) and 'young Brittney',from junior church is beautifully dressed.  Bob reads Jean's scripts/sermons and then records them to be used during the service.

Olde Tyme Variety Show
Jean and Bob have been touring with their OLDE TYME VARIETY SHOW which includes 'the beautifully dressed' Marie Lloyd themed sing along, magic through the ages and Bob's brilliant impressions of the great Max Miller, Sandy Powell act and many other old favourites.

Bob is also a magician, actor and Punch and Judy Professor.  He supports Jean fully with her performances.

"Watches may stop! Objects may move! Spoons may bend! Blood may spill! MAY WE SAW YOU IN HALF?"
Jean and Bob have a website at:

Jean, Adrian and Bob

Jean with the Revd Neil Down and young Britteny

Tuesday, 28 May 2013



What a glorious day we had on Sunday.  While Hungerford basked in the warm sunshine, Hungerford Arcade was hosting a classic vehicle charity event together with the Thames Valley Farmers Market.  Vehicles from the West Berkshire Classic Vehicle Club and private individuals arrived early and took their places outside the Arcade and in the staff car park at the rear of the building.  

Of course, the crowds gathered, with the Farmers Market stallholders, customers and children alike, thoroughly enjoying themselves, studying the cars, talking to their owners and asking lots of questions.  There must have been hundreds of photographs taken.

Among these amazing vehicles was the wonderful immaculate, red, bull-nose, Morris van which appears in the television series, Downton Abbey - it drew lots of attention!  Its owner and committee member of the West Berkshire Classic Vehicle Club Roger Pigden, actually drives the van during filming.  They starred in the last series, the Christmas edition and have been filmed for the new series.  The Morris has been newly sign-written for the programme;  'G H Bakewell & Sons  Provisions  26 Grove Rd  Downton'.

While all this was going on outside the Arcade, inside, Hungerford Arcade was 'bursting at the seams' with customers from all over the country and indeed, America, Australia, Chile and Europe!  It was Bank holiday weekend and everyone was enjoying themselves, soaking up the warm sunshine.  A memorable day indeed!

Interior of Daimler Dart

Friday, 24 May 2013


Everyone now knows of the secret meetings of Winston Churchill  and Franklin Roosevelt.  The most important one to Great Britain was the one in 1941 aboard the two ships, USS Augusta and HMS Prince of Wales at Placentia Bay, off the Newfoundland coast, Canada.  The outcome of this meeting was so important as it sealed the US - Great Britain alliance culminating in the Atlantic Treaty.

To celebrate the Atlantic Treaty, a few commemorative items were made.

Hungerford Arcade is very proud to have acquired one such item.  Here we have a crystal whisky glass decorated on one side with the head of Franklin D Roosevelt with a verse beneath which says: 

"Sail on, oh Ship of State! Sail on, oh Union strong & great!  Humanity, with all its fears,with all the hopes of future years, is hanging breathless on thy fate". 

On the opposite side is the head of Winston Churchill with a verse beneath which says:

"Put your confidence in us; give us your faith and blessing, and under providence, all will be well".

Down each side of the glass is an olive branch. 

I have lined the glass with black tissue paper in the hope that you will be able to see all the detail.  Below is an article on the Atlantic Treaty together with photographs.


1941: Secret meetings OF WINSTON CHURCHILL AND FRANKLIN D ROOSEVELT seal US-Britain alliance

The Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, has spent the last few days in top-secret meetings with the American President, Franklin D Roosevelt. Details of the meetings only emerged after the announcement of a joint declaration by Britain and America on the basic principles for a post-war world, sealing the alliance between the two countries for the downfall of Hitler.


The document, known as the Atlantic Charter, consists of a list of eight undertakings.

  1. Britain and the United States seek no territorial gains from the war
  2. any changes to a country's territory should only happen with the agreement of the people living there
  3. it is the right of everyone to choose the government under which they will live
  4. self-government should be restored to those who have lost it
  5. there should be free trade between all nations
  6. improvements in the economy and in living standards should be available to all
  7. there should be peace following what the Charter calls "the end of Nazi tyranny"
  8. peace should enable freedom of movement around the world and a belief that aggressive nations must be disarmed if the world is to live at peace
Rumours of high-level talks have been rife for weeks in the American press following the sudden disappearance from Washington of Mr Roosevelt and several top US officials.
Mr Churchill's unexplained absence from the House of Commons during a statement on the war situation on 6 August had also attracted some attention.
It turned out both men were involved in at least three days of intensive talks on board the American cruiser, USS Augusta, and the British battleship, HMS Prince of Wales, anchored in Placentia Bay in Newfoundland.
It was the first time Mr Churchill had met Mr Roosevelt as heads of their respective governments, and their discussions were thought to have covered several other matters, such as the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June, the supply of weapons under the Lend-Lease Act, and the threat to Britain's lifeline in the Battle of the Atlantic.
Although the Charter is clearly an undertaking for the two countries to co-operate after the war, it stops short of anything which might bring forward America's participation in the war.
But as Japan continues to build up her fleet in the Pacific, speculation has been growing as to just how long the Americans can stay out.

August 9 – 12, 1941
Franklin D Roosevelt and Winston Churchill
Placentia Bay, off the Newfoundland coast, Canada, aboard two ships:
 the USS Augusta and the HMS Prince of Wales

"Meeting Franklin Roosevelt was like opening your first bottle of champagne; knowing him was like drinking it".

                           Winston Churchill's edited copy                                                          
                                                 of the 
                               final draft of the Atlantic Charter.

                                                                 Printed copy of Atlantic Charter distributed as