Professor Kershaw, described as an electrician and a mesmerist performed an amusing hypnotising show in the Exchange hall in the 1880s. According to trade adverts of the era, Professor Kershaw was from Southport where he also offered various healing from his residence at 62 Sefton Street (pictured) which was handy for the tram, according to his advert. There were lots of performing mesmerists with travelling stage hypnotism shows during the Victorian period.
Under the Hypnotism Act 1952, if you intend to hold an exhibition, performance or demonstration of hypnotism on any person which takes place in public you will require a licence. In 1994, there was a campaign to ban stage hypnotists. The issue was raised in the House of Commons by West Lancashire, MP Colin Pickthall., due to a number of people suffering adverse physical and mental symptoms after being participants in these type of shows. The catalyst was the death of a woman, five hours after being in a trance as part of a hypnotist act in Leyland, Lancashire.