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Ted Ball (Fantasy Centre).

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  • Ted Ball (Fantasy Centre).

    Dear all,

    A large portion of my own M.M. book-and-magazine collection was put together at Fantasy Centre in the Holloway Road, north London, staffed for all those years by Ted, latterly with Erik Arthur (who e-mailed this earlier today):-

    "Hello good people

    I am sorry to have to tell you all that Ted Ball died peacefully in hospital yesterday, March 18th. He had been poorly for the past several months and eventually succumbed to a severe chest infection.

    I shall be completing the formalities over the next few days after which I will inform you of the arrangements for Ted's funeral. There are also plans afoot for a proper wake to be held, probably in April.

    For over 45 years Ted was proprietor of Fantasy Centre bookshop and was well known to many in the Science Fiction community, whether from London meetings at the Globe in Hatton Garden or at conventions or principally in the shop.

    Ted had no family and latterly has made me his executor. Indeed, perhaps his large collection of books, his major interest in life, were his family. The Bishopsgate Institute will receive his comprehensive "Jack the Ripper" collection. Others will go to auction in due course.

    For most of his life Ted lived with a cat (even in the shop in the Harlesden days) and he has also left bequests to the RSPCA and PDSA. We have lost a real "gentle man".

    I have searched as widely as I can for contacts for people who knew Ted and have left this [e-mail's] distribution list open. Please feel free to pass on this sad news to others who may be concerned. I am sure in this modern age that such will happen remarkably quickly.


    Erik Arthur".



  • #2
    Pretty sure that I dropped in to the Fantasy Centre, shortly before it closed, in the search for some more of Mike's work. Must have been November 2008, when I picked up one of their flyers at the Fortean Times Unconvention, that year. It really was piled high with all sorts of desirable literature. Well worth the trek from Euston out to the Holloway Rd.

    Sad news.


    • #3
      Sad to hear. Used to buy stuff from Fantasy Centre by post years ago and sold a good part of my sf collection to them in 2000. Never met Ted though, it was Erik who turned up to have a root through my stuff...
      'You know, I can't keep up with you. If I hadn't met you in person, I quite honestly would NOT believe you really existed. I just COULDN'T. You do so MUCH... if half of what goes into your zines is to be believed, you've read more at the age of 17 than I have at the age of 32 - LOTS more'

      Archie Mercer to Mike (Burroughsania letters page, 1957)


      • #4
        I've known Ted for decades. I first met him at a Birmingham convention as I recall. Somehow a room party had started in my room. Ted introduced himself. In the spirit of the punning times I suggested we collaborate so that one day the public might demand 'more cock and ball stories'. Thanks to Norman Shorrock's infamous homebrew I watched a little later as he fell, straight as a fir to the woodsman's axe, to the floor. I got him to my bed and left him there. We were friends ever since. Sweet man. Sadly missed.

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        • #5
          Meant to post this here months ago and forgot. Oh well. Anyway, for those of you who never visited it, here's what Fantasy Centre was like. Be sure to click on the large panorama:


          • #6
            Wow if we had a bookstore like that around here I'd be there every day!
            "He found a coin in his pocket, flipped it. She called: 'Incubus!'
            'Succubus,' he said. 'Lucky old me.'" - Michael Moorcock The Final Programme


            • #7
              Hello from France

              Originally posted by Jack Of Shadows View Post
              Wow if we had a bookstore like that around here I'd be there every day!
              Exactly same commentary.


              • #9
                I never had the pleasure of visiting The Fantasy Centre but it did look a tremendous place.

                I do remember Forbidden Planet when it was in a basement in Denmark Street in St Giles. It was very similar to The Fantasy Centre, a genuine specialist Sci Fi and Fantasy book shop.

                Now it's a horrible corporate monster selling Dr Who and Game of Thrones figurines and t shirts. The London store still sells a large number of books but it's rare that one can pick up an interesting little gem like the good old days.

                The Liverpool shop is particularly dreadful, flogging commercial TV spin off junk and very little of interest or quality. Waterstones has a better selection of books than FP.