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History of the Guild

The Guild of British Camera Technicians started in 1977 when four technicians - Terry Cole (1AC), John Deaton (1AC), Mike Fox (Camera Operator) and Geoff Glover (Camera Operator) - invited all the camera technicians they knew to attend a meeting, at 10am on the 6th November 1977, at the old Caernarvon Hotel, Ealing Common. The impetus was born out of many discussions on the set of “Superman”, where many of the crew had expressed the need for an association for camera technicians.

They wanted to form a non-political association that protected the interests and aspirations of a growing freelance workforce and wanted to be an authoritative presence in the industry. Their aim was to spearhead the development of new talent and maintain the best and highest standards in order to set the bar on best practice and quality. The meeting was chaired by David Lenham and resolved to set up an association that would represent their aspirations beyond what could be done by a trade union. It was initially called the Society of British Camera Technicians. The ‘Society’ name was quickly changed to ‘Guild’ so as not to be confused with the BSC.

​They set about organising themselves into a company, prepared a Constitution, and invited a set of Trustees to be its guardians. The first chair was the late Alec Mills (from 1978 to 1980). Samuelson Film Services Ltd. gave the Guild a home in their premises in Cricklewood. The Crew Directory was the cornerstone of the organisation from the very beginning. It gave the industry the definitive list of the best camera technicians to be had this side of the Atlantic. The Guild grew to encompass an answering service (GAS) and the publishing of first a newsletter then a magazine (Eyepiece). Run by a management board of working members and some professional staff, the Guild was able to provide many services and products to its members and the industry at large. Skeets Kelly bequeathed the design for his calculator to the Guild, and the Guild Kelly Calculator has been an iconic product ever since, carried in the pockets of many focus pullers until mobile phone apps pushed aside such analogue technologies. When Samuelsons sold their Cricklewood HQ and moved to Greenford the Guild followed to be housed at Grip House’s studios. Subsequently following them and Samuelsons into the fold of Panavision UK, where it has been to the present day.

Chairs of the GBCT

Alec Mills

1978 to 1980

Robin Browne

1980 to 1982

Jack Lowin

1982 to 1984

Paul Beeson

1984 to 1986

Lou Lavelly

1986 to 1990

Paul Beeson

1990 to 1992

Gerry Anstiss

1992 to 1995

Tony Garrett

1995 to 1997

Malcolm Beale (acting)

1997 to 1998

Rod Marley

1998 to 1999

Harvey Harrison

1999 to 2003

Trevor Coop

2003 to 2007

Jamie Harcourt

2008 to 2009

Tim Potter

2009 to 2023

Limited by Guarantee, the GBCT Company has a constitution that is both relevant and fair. That constitution is monitored by the board of trustees. 

Since the early days, the GBCT has grown its membership of talented film and television specialists across the globe. They are renowned for their knowledge, talent, technical ability, and aesthetic eye.

Founding Trustees

Sir Sydney Samuelson CBE

Lord Richard Attenborough

Richard Lester

The founding three were then joined by:

Michael Apted

Sue Gibson

Joe Wright

Phil Meheux BSC

Steve Clark-Hall

We have now sadly lost Sir Sydney Samuelson (2022), Lord Attenborough (2014), Sue Gibson (2016) and Michael Apted (2021). All of whom will be greatly missed.

Dee Edwards

Dee Edwards was the administrator of the GBCT from 2008. She sadly passed away on the 20th December 2022. 

Dee was everything the Guild stood for. She had boundless Integrity. She was honourable and progressive, continually striving to maintain the high standards and consequent reputation of The Guild. She knew every member of The Guild and had a unique talent for forging connections, encouraging and making an impact on a multitude of careers.  She dispensed wise advice and always had time for those who needed a good friend to talk to, no matter how busy she was. 


Her dream for the GBCT and for the entire industry was good, quality training -  she ensured that courses were accessible to all and were taught to the highest standard by members. She pushed to create the GBCT Camera Trainee Scheme, which attracts over 700 applicants every time it runs. 


Dee was particularly proud of her key role in the retraining course the GBCT did in partnership with Help for Heroes and Screen Skills.  She recognised the value of those ex-service men and women, and how their skills could transfer to our industry in every department.


She was determined that GBCT technicians should be “the best of the best”.  Not only would this benefit our members, but our industry as a whole.  She saw the bigger picture - often much sooner than others.  She is a great loss to all those who had the privilege of knowing her. She gave us the best anyone could give.

January 2024 dawned brightly with Lorraine Luke taking the reins as Chief Operating Officer, after a tough year for the GBCT coming to terms with the unthinkable loss of Dee Edwards and the realisation that she had been quietly doing the work of at least six people. It became increasingly clear that, after Tim Potter’s valiant efforts to keep the Guild running, we needed to re-think the entire running of The Board and implement a holacracy, whereby each member of The Board will build working groups from the membership.


Each group takes responsiblity for the various aspects of running The Guild. The groups overlap and Lorraine is the Nexus & Representative for them all. This gives the groups autonomy to make decisions within their scope of work, whilst retaining the ability to make collective decisions when necessary. Each group has an External and Internal Co-Ordinator. External Co-Ordinators are Board members and their main job is to foster transparency by feeding information back to The Board on each working group’s activity. All GBCT Members are welcome to suggest projects and join the relevant group. Everyone gains from the new, democratic and smooth operation of the Guild, working with and beside the membership.

2024 and the Future

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