House of Wonders


In Search of Randolph ‘Randini’ Douglas

House of Wonders is a strikingly different performance from prizewinning poet, John Lindley, taking as its theme the astonishing true life story of a Sheffield-born man named Randolph Douglas (1895 – 1956). Collector, caver and curator, locksmith, miniaturist and escapologist, confidant to, and correspondent with, the great Harry Houdini, Randolph Douglas seems, inexplicably, to be almost forgotten today.

In a fascinating talk/reading, illustrated and illuminated by a wonderful array of projected images, John Lindley goes in search of this remarkable man. It is a search that takes him into the halls where Randolph Douglas staged his escapes, the caves he explored and the amazing House of Wonders he built around him in Castleton. Randolph ‘Randini’ Douglas’s life is not so much documented as cherished and marvelled at.

Signed copies of House of Wonders are available from the author at 26 Albert Place, Havannah Street, Congleton, Cheshire, CW12 2AJ at £7.95 + £1.15 post & packaging. Please make cheques payable to ‘John Lindley’.

A superb collection, perhaps his best work to date. From inception and conception, through design and layout to the last line of the final poem it’s great.”

The Death of Houdini is not just a fine poem, it is a great poem, with inspired imagery. I hope it makes it into the anthologies of time, for it both fits perfectly into the sequence but would sparkle alone. But sparkling in a bed of fine poems. I have read the book twice and look forward to picking it up again soon. And whoever designed the layout deserves the publisher’s equivalent of an Oscar.”

The poetry in this book has to be some of Lindley’s best. Right through to the end with ‘Ascension’, ‘Recollection’ and ‘Headstone’ the subject’s life is captured in such a clear and understanding way. Super poems.”

John Lindley was born in Stockport. His poems have been widely published in magazines and anthologies and he has been a prizewinner in a number of national competitions. Ten collections of his poetry have been published. An experienced performer, his work has also been broadcast on radio. He lives in Congleton and works freelance as a poet, songwriter and creative writing tutor and facilitator. He is a former Cheshire Poet Laureate and Manchester Cathedral Poet of the Year.

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