Frederick Bentham

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Interview Date(s): 
27 Apr 1995
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BEHP 0353 S Fred Bentham Synopsis

[This synopsis primarily just lists names, with little context, and is taken from handwritten notes which in some cases proved difficult to read. DS 2020]

Born 1911. Father sculptor. Salisbury Plain RA to camouflage Hayling Island. Stage Lighting St Paul’s School. Collet Court. Harlesden. Model Theatres. No more religion.

Designed larger model theatres and at 16-17 put on shows. 1929 Oliver Barnard Art Deco. J Lyons Cornerhouses, overall designer. Nippies. Strand Palace Hotel. GEC opposite Stoll. Drawing Office. Art Deco; Central School of Arts and Crafts. Dept of Cinema Lighting. Basil Davis Winstanley. Regent Street Polytechnic Electrical Engineering; Davis Croydon; Shepherds Bush Pavilion; Louis Levy; Quentin Mclean; Talkies. Special Cinemas, Regal Plaza, started lighting about 1927; Amateur Theatre; Dean of Windsor; Strand-Electric. Scenery and Lighting Manager. GEC. CEA Trade Show. Arthur Earnshaw; Appleby. [?] demonstration theatre, Floral Street. Fred McCrae; £3 per week; Lighting changes to records. Bentalls, Kingston founder; Fashion show – 22 years old. Christie, Glyndbourne; Strand equipment primitive then. Robert Nesbitt, Stanley Earnshaw. B. Bear. Compton organ company, Christie organs; Taylor. £1000. Organ, switchboard colour music.

1936 public company, lease ran out 24 Floral Street; moved to 29 King Street. Designed new demonstration theatre. Pneumonia. Leslie Henson. War. Daily Mail Ideal Home Exhibition. Factory at Ealing, landing lights. Bombed King Street. Consul protected. Went to Palladium. Nesbit. Tommy Trinder; Joe Davies; Binky Beaumont.

Second World War. Glasgow exhibition; pneumonia just before war so not called up. Medical; TB operation. No role for demonstration theatre in war. Lisbon. Portugese ambassador.

Cassette 2:

Back in England; Percy Corry; Frank Weston. Theatre bombed. Adelphi. Simulator limb [?] trainer

Gangway at Palladium, bigger consul; TB returned; Wrote book while in bed; Edward via Midhurst [?]; married end of the war; Stanley Earnshaw; consultant to Royal Festival Hall; Drury Lane; Queen Wilhemina of Holland; Coliseum; c1955 B Bare Television Riverside Studio; Westminster Abbey; E8; Rediffusion Wembley; Remote control; BBC Lighting in studios; Mclean ABC electrical. Jxxx Trumb Wood; All electric thyristors; Thorns; Appleby; 1968 Rank Organisation