Well Gala Bingo may have shut the Cambridge bingo hall on Hobson Street in May but it would seem that a bunch of squatters may have other ideas. The local bingo playing community have been reeling since the closure of their much loved bingo hall but now it would seem that the squatters who have just taken over the building will be allowing them all to return to their favourite bingo venue to enjoy their games once more. The squatters at the ex Gala Bingo hall are not your usual bunch of squatters, as they even have the carpet cleaners in at the moment to try to restore the building to its former glory.
Squatters putting on free Bingo and movies
The group of squatters called ‘Occupy Cambridge’ take over disused or empty buildings to allow the local community to use the space once more. They intend to bring the old Gala Bingo employees back to put on the bingo games and to screen movies as the building was also once a cinema. The bingo games that the group intend to put on for the local community will be free bingo games but are more an exercise in getting the community to reclaim the venue for whatever requirements that they wish. One of the Occupy Cambridge group, Neil Swing was quoted as saying in a Cambridge News article “This is a protest against councils and the capitalist system which are abandoning communities. We are calling for radical social change."
Gala Bingo had occupied the hall since 1972 and sadly closed in May after being sold to a property developer. How long the group which call themselves a ‘group of squatters, anarchists, revolutionists, land rights types and general misfits’ will have control of the building remains to be seen, they previously occupied a building which was due to be a Tesco but were forced out eventually by a court order.
The group are hoping to occupy the old Gala Bingo hall for at least the next few months and have been busy handing out literature in the street publicising the opening of their new ‘Social Centre’, which will be holding a special meeting with free entertainment for interested members of the local community to attend on Saturday at 6.00 pm, and there is access for visitors with disabilities.