Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London – continued

The following images and captions have been kindly provided by Alan Siggers.  Alan was the technician employed by Stoll and based at Drury Lane who was responsible for the maintenance of all their LC’s and CD’s. Alan was also the lead operator for the Lane’s LC from 1968 till it’s removal.

TRDL Console as delivered

Note no programmable pistons, no All Reverse, and old edge meters. The small meter on the far left is a voltmeter for the 15volt DC supply. Note the additional piston button on rank one far right. This piston could be programmed as a piston but was marked general cancel and was always left switched to all tabs off. The three columns of white lights on the right next to the meters were the speed indication lights for each bank of dimmers. They would work independently but would follow the linking of the console, so in essence with all three ranks linked only one speed pedal would change all three speeds. The range normally was around 31 seconds up to around three seconds and if the overdrive pedal was pushed the speed would instantly jump from whatever the setting to around 2 seconds. There was also a motor stop push that you could pulse with your foot increasing the 31 second time to whatever you wanted, or until your foot hurt whichever came first.

Dimmer Bank 1

Shows the wheels and control arms for the dimmers and the magnetic clutches.

Dimmer Bank 1 house light dimmer and speed control

The banks were laid out in the same colour order: white at the top then red and blue with green at the bottom. The small box far left at the back of the room was the 15Kw house light dimmer, and the tall black cabinet on the left was the motor speed control.

Dimmer Bank 3

Dimmer Bank 3

Dimmer Banks 2 & 3

Dimmer Banks 2 & 3

 

A Setter from the rear of the dimmer bank

A Setter from the rear of the dimmer bank

The setter had a frame that held a wire wound potentiometer exactly the same as those on each dimmer but which did nothing more than drive the meters on the console as a guide to the operator as to how far into the fade they were.

Part of the reversing relay bank on one dimmer bank

Part of the reversing relay bank on one dimmer bank

Note the relay contacts are double stacked and that the bottom stack has an insulated bar. The bottom set was where the reverse took place with two sets of change over contacts to reverse the clutch directions. The top set was a holding set back through the Compton Relay.

The Compton Relay

The Compton Relay

A beautiful thing, with all self-cleaning contacts; one relay box per half manual. The panels on the extreme right are the test panels for the dimmer room and acted as the console through the Compton relay. Each horizontal bar or latch bar was operated by a tab and lifted when activated allowing it to come into contact with the fingers of wire that were pulled down by the 32 vertical bakelite strips. Each strip represented a key on the Console:

White Red Blue Green
Snap On Left Snap On Left Snap On Left Snap On Left
DBO Left DBO Left DBO Left DBO Left
Fade In Left Fade In Left Fade In Left Fade In Left
Fade Out Left Fade Out Left Fade Out Left Fade Out Left
Snap On Right Snap On Right Snap On Right Snap On Right
DBO Right DBO Right DBO Right DBO Right
Fade In Right Fade In Right Fade In Right Fade In Right
Fade Out Right Fade Out Right Fade Out Right Fade Out Right

The above multiplied by the 216 Tabs made for some 6,912 permutations.

The nearly entombed Light Console

The nearly entombed Light Console

The console as delivered with the wall being built around it. The idea to move the desk in to the stalls was in reality wholly impractical as it was far too heavy to be trafficked over the orchestra pit and too heavy for the amount of manpower you could get around it. The only time the ability to move the console was used was the change from being in the PS dock were it was originally operated, to the room in which it would finally live. This room had to be made ready as it still had the old pot dimmer system in it.

Earnest Trim operating the new Light Console

Earnest Trim operating the new Light Console

This is a picture of Ernie taken from the orchestra pit looking through the operator’s viewing window.

FOH lighting rig including disappearing floats

FOH lighting rig including disappearing floats

Only the dress circle had the colour change and the floats only lasted about fifteen years before they were removed.

Stage or BOH lighting rig as supplied by Strand

Stage or BOH lighting rig as supplied by Strand

 

Console showing new programmable pistons on left

Console showing new programmable pistons on left

 

Console with new meter and new all reverse button

Console with new meter and new all reverse button

This picture also shows some toggle switches: one for the motors and four for chandelier relays. The small group of tabs below rank one left were the tabs for key sustain and to link the keyboard plus colour control. The key switch was an addition of mine to lock the console off from unauthorised operation. The button in the middle of rank one is the All Reverse and the two meters on the left were the setters for rank one. The four in the centre were for rank two and the two on the right were for rank three; the coloured tape indicates the colour to which that setter is linked. The original desk had 12 edge meters that proved unreliable and by replacing with conventional meters four were dropped to save space. The pistons under each keyboard controlled the tabs for that half of the appropriate rank: the first touch, say, on piston one, rank one left would bring on the tabs for that rank. A second touch would bring down the opposite half. The two pistons in the centre of rank two were single touch general pistons and would work on all three ranks.

Right manuals including speed control indicators

Right manuals including speed control indicators

 

MMS at TRDL

MMS at TRDL

 

MMS at TRDL

MMS at TRDL

These were installed in the centre box at the back of the dress circle, and replaced the Light Console.