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Sixty Years Of Light Work

Taking advantage of the flexibility and choices offered by the advent of digital printing techniques, and the ability to ‘print-on-demand’, Entertainment Technology Press decided from the day of its establishment to include historical and biographical titles within its various book series. Potentially shorter ‘runs’ and reprints of important works could be included. It is a privilege for Entertainment Technology Press to include Fred Bentham’s Sixty Years of Light Work as the first in our Biographical Series.

When it was suggested to Andy Collier, who was largely responsible for nursing the original book through to its publication by Strand Lighting, that we attempt to put the title ‘back into print’, he was enthusiastic about the idea. Once again he has assisted the project along its path with his usual patience, and ETP thanks him and the small and esteemed group who have in various ways enabled us to put Fred’s work back into print: Bob Anderson, Roger Fox, Brian Legge, Francis Reid and Peter Rogers.

It is also a pleasure to acknowledge the agreement of Fred himself. He knew, shortly before his death in May this year, that this new edition was about to go to print. Also thanks to his widow Ilse and sons Freddy and Jeremy who gave the project their blessing.

The idea of including the complete Strand Catalogue of 1936 as an Appendix was down to the series editor John Offord, and it is why you paid more pounds for your book! The intention is that it will be of interest to many readers, and in particular, when future students of entertainment technology grasp its importance, this decision will be vindicated.

Author: Fred Bentham
Publication Date: 1st August 2001
Book Format: Paperback
Kindle Version: Click here to buy from Amazon
Price: £26.95


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Most of those working in the lighting business will have heard of the late Fred Bentham, who died in May 2001. For some 42 years, Bentham worked for Strand Electric as an engineer, inventor and designer, working through the period of most significant change in the entertainment industry, playing a key part in many of them. 

Having started his apprenticeship back in 1920 with model theatre and amateur dramatics, Bentham has provided an entertaining look at how things developed, and this he does from his own perspective, giving the more seasoned reader cause to happily reminisce, or the younger one cause to recoil in horror at how things were done ‘back then’. There is even an original Strand catalogue in the appendix dating back to 1936. 

The book, first published some years ago by Strand, is not solely concerned with engineering, but is also a true autobiography and is full of some very amusing anecdotal tales of life in pre-and post war theatre and televised broadcasts. One can see that Bentham really did enjoy 60 years of light work!

Lighting + Sound International