It has been reported that a former Mecca Bingo hall in Swindon will be refurbished and will be used as a music and concert venue. It had previously been thought that the ex bingo hall would be sadly demolished but the news that a ‘mystery backer’ has now agreed to save the day and breathe new life into the former bingo hall will be welcomed by the local people. The report published on the ‘This is Wiltshire’ website states that the venue once open could accommodate 1,000 to 1,200 people which would certainly provide an excellent setting for smaller concerts and festivals
Change of use often means demolish the bingo hall and start again
The news of the change of use of the Mecca Bingo hall got us thinking about the many and varied changes to other bingo halls around the country. Although none of us likes to see yet another bingo hall close down the fact, that this hall will once more be a venue for local people to socialise and be entertained makes a fitting tribute to the former bingo hall. Sadly many bingo halls have been closed down and demolished to make way for office blocks, supermarkets and shockingly car parks. Many bingo halls have been housed for many years in old Art Deco cinemas, providing a regal façade to the most popular of British past times, these then change from the thrill of the bingo game to a soulless office block or noisy nightclub.
Bingo Hideout decided to do a little research and found many example of changes to former bingo halls, a small selection of examples of how some bingo hall fortunes are changing follows. A former Mecca Bingo hall in Fulham is expected to be demolished to make way for a new development of student flats or a bingo hall in Cardiff (also a former cinema) that had a change of use to a bar for students call the Spin Bar
The ghost of bingo past
Another former bingo hall in Halifax is now a nightclub called Liquid. This particular hall although no longer hosting bingo games does have a resident that has remained steadfast in his attendance at the venue since the days when the bingo games were hosted – a ghost! The ghost is reputedly that of a projectionist who was killed in a fire when the hall was a cinema. The ghost has apparently stalked the former bingo hall ever since the 1960’s. One former bingo hall in Bedminster Bristol was until recently a childrens soft play centre; recently however a problem with health and safety has meant that this leisure facility has also closed down.
A former Mecca Bingo hall in Sefton which closed to the bingo playing public in 2006 is expected to re-open in 2010 as a soft furnishings superstore. The most unusual change of use we have come across though has to be the application to turn the former Gala Bingo hall in Upper Norwood into a church – it will most certainly bring a whole different meaning to the bingo lingo term of OMG!