The Dracula Society
The Dracula Society (UK)(pop culture)
The Dracula Society, the primary organization in the United Kingdom keeping the study of Dracula alive, was founded in October 1973 by Bernard Davies and Bruce Wightman (d.2009) as a vampire interest group to help facilitate travel to Romania. At the time, standard tours were just beginning to respond to tourists who wished to visit sites associated with Dracula. Closer to its home base in London, the society sponsors lectures, films, auctions, and parties; its regular meetings are occasions for members to celebrate Dracula and his literary and cinematic cousins. It also arranges visits to nearby locales associated with gothic literature, especially the northern England town of Whitby, where, in the novel, Dracula landed. The society focuses on Dracula and Bram Stoker, but also reaches out to literary vampires in general, associated monsters such as the werewolf and mummies, and folklore.
The society maintains an archive to preserve materials related to Dracula and the gothic theme in literature, the stage, and the cinema. The archives houses the complete papers of Hamilton Deane, who brought Dracula to the stage. It also contains the cloak worn by Christopher Lee in his screen portrayals of Dracula. Annually, the society makes two awards: The Hamilton Deane Award for the outstanding contribution to the gothic genre in the performing arts and the Children of the Night Award for the most outstanding contribution to the gothic genre in the literary field.
The society adopted the shield of the Voivodes of Wallachia (Dracula’s family) as its crest, adding a ribbon with a Latin quote from the third-century Christian theologian Tertullian, “I believe because it is impossible.” The society is open to anyone over the age of eighteen; in 1993 it reported approximately 150 members. It may be contacted through the secretary, The Dracula Society, PO Box 30848, London W12 0GY, United Kingdom or through its Internet site at: http://www.thedraculasociety.org.uk/. Members receive Voices from the Vaults, the society’s quarterly newsletter. The current chairman is co-founder Bernard Davies.