Light Console  (1935 - 1955)
Strand Lighting


The Strand Light Console is designed to give an operator, seated in full view of the stage, absolute control of all the lighting circuits that make up a modern stage installation, whatever the size of the theatre.

This revolutionary lighting control, and the ubiquitous Pattern 23 spotlight became synonymous with Fred Bentham and Strand. The Light Consoles lasting legacy was to progress the technology of lighting control from a complex on-stage mechanical device to a remote control which could be located where the operator could actually see what was being lit.

A specially-made church organ console remotely controlled banks of resistance dimmers which were connected to constant-speed, motor driven shafts via magnetic clutches

Installations:

1935: Original / Prototype: King Street Strand Electric Theatre (demo theatre). Moved to London Palladium in 1941 following bombing of King Street (removed in 1949).
1940: National Opera House, Lisbon (108 ways)
1946: Theatre Royal, Bristol (60 ways)
1946: South Short Icedrome, Blackpool (64 ways)
1949: London Palladium (152 ways, replacing the 1935 original)
1949: National Opera House, Ankara (136 ways)
1949: Palace Theatre, Manchester (108 ways)
1950: Empress Theatre, Earls Court, London (90 ways)
1950: Theatre Royal Drury Lane, London (216 ways) [now in the Jim Laws Collection]
1950: Stoll Theatre, Kingsway, London (176 ways)
1951: Royal Festival Hall, London (84 ways) [now on display at DHA Designs]
1952: London Coliseum (216 ways)
1954: Her Majesty's Theatre, London (152 ways)
1954: Adelphi Theatre, London (152 ways)
1954: Caracas University, Venezuala (94 ways)
1955: Plaza, Caracas, Venezuala (121 ways)
1955: Theatre Polski, Warsaw [This was the last Light Console manufactured]


The document 'Technology of the Light Console' by Brian Legge (see below) goes into great detail about how to operate a Light Console.


The 1945 Strand Catalogue includes a large section on the Light Console


See also Nick Hunt's excellent resources on the Light Console installations.

Related Venues:

Extra Information: Comments from Adrian Buesnel (September 2001)
Extra Information: From Fred Bentham's 1976 book 'The Art of Stage Lighting'
Extra Information: Comments from Stephen Hancock (January 2001)

Documents

Fred Bentham at the Light Console (from LIGHTS, Feb 1992)
Fred Bentham at the Light Console (from LIGHTS, Feb 1992) 
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[57kb  JPEG]
From Strand Archive
Light Console Controls
Light Console Controls 
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[200kb  JPEG]
From Strand Archive
Photo: Light Console - London Palladium - Ernest Trim at Console
Photo: Light Console - London Palladium - Ernest Trim at Console 
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[529kb  JPEG]
From Frederick Brown Collection
Photo: Light Console - Theatre Royal Drury Lane
Photo: Light Console - Theatre Royal Drury Lane 
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[345kb  JPEG]
From Frederick Brown Collection
Photo: Light Console for Blackpool Icedrome
Photo: Light Console for Blackpool Icedrome 
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[234kb  JPEG]
From Frederick Brown Collection
Photo: Light Console for Blackpool Icedrome
Photo: Light Console for Blackpool Icedrome 
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[288kb  JPEG]
From Frederick Brown Collection
Photo: Light Console for Blackpool Icedrome
Photo: Light Console for Blackpool Icedrome 
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[285kb  JPEG]
From Frederick Brown Collection
Photo: Light Console for Blackpool Icedrome with lid closed
Photo: Light Console for Blackpool Icedrome with lid closed 
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[278kb  JPEG]
From Frederick Brown Collection
Photo: Light Console for London Coliseum
Photo: Light Console for London Coliseum 
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[423kb  JPEG]
From Frederick Brown Collection
Photo: Light Console for Manchester Palace
Photo: Light Console for Manchester Palace 
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[401kb  JPEG]
From Frederick Brown Collection
Photo: Light Console in Lisbon, in the pit
Photo: Light Console in Lisbon, in the pit 
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[500kb  JPEG]
From Frederick Brown Collection
Photo: Portable Light Console for Bristol Old Vic
Photo: Portable Light Console for Bristol Old Vic 
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[262kb  JPEG]
From Frederick Brown Collection

1945 Strand Catalogue - Photo (August 1945)
[1.4Mb ]
From Strand Archive

1945 Strand Electric Brochure (December 1945)
[423kb ]
From Jim Laws Collection

1945 Strand Electric Brochure (December 1945)
[346kb ]
From Jim Laws Collection

1945 Strand Electric Brochure (December 1945)
[479kb ]
From Jim Laws Collection
Photo: Light Console at the National Opera House in Ankara with Memory Box
Photo: Light Console at the National Opera House in Ankara with Memory Box (1949)
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[603kb  JPEG]
From Frederick Brown Collection
John Gray at the Light Console at Her Majesties Theatre
John Gray at the Light Console at Her Majesties Theatre (1954)
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[1.2Mb  JPEG]
From John Gray Photo Collection
Photo: Light Console - for the Aula Magna of the University of Caracas, Venezuela
Photo: Light Console - for the Aula Magna of the University of Caracas, Venezuela (1954)
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[412kb  JPEG]
From Frederick Brown Collection
Photo: The Light Console at Her Majesties Theatre
Photo: The Light Console at Her Majesties Theatre (1954)
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[578kb  JPEG]
From John Gray Photo Collection
Light Console - Stephen Hancock
Light Console - Stephen Hancock (1971)
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[20kb  JPEG]
From Strand Archive

Exhibits in the Backstage Heritage Collection


Light Console: Theatre Royal Drury Lane  (1950)
3 manuals, 216 ways, 6 speeds. The largest of the Light Consoles, and one of only 14 made. 
From Jim Laws Collection

Journal Entries for Light Console in the Backstage Heritage Collection


Back to Control - Manual (Strand Lighting)