Playing Bingo

Top Ten Bingo Halls

Most of us who play bingo do so in strip lit modern venues. Nothing wrong with that, however, some lucky players get to mark their cards off in more salubrious surroundings. It is obviously a bit unfair to create a list of top ten halls without allowing owners to compete for the accolade, but we're simply basing the list on the architecture of the buildings. Whilst we do have photographs of the majority of the UK's current bingo halls (and a lot of closed ones too), we don't claim to know the interior of every single club. So, if you think we've missed a club of the list and you can provide or point us to a photograph, we'd love to hear from you. In the meantime, we hope you agree that the photographs below show some rather fine bingo halls.

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Gala Bingo Tooting

1. Photograph by: Charles S.P. Jenkins - Tooting Gala Bingo on Mitcham Road ion South London is probably the most photographed bingo club in the UK, which means probably the world as well. And as you can see from the photograph, there is good reason for this. There have been other magnificent bingo halls, however this is probably the most impressive surviving bingo hall.

Gala Bingo Bridlington

2. Photograph by: Ian Grundy - Gala Bingo Bridlington used to be the Regal Cinema which opened in 1938. The eye-catching original decor is quite a departure from traditional theatre and cinema colour schemes, so we're wondering if sometime in the club's history the frieze-work has been repainted to match the Gala Bingo brand colours.

Beacon Bingo Cricklewood

3. Photograph by: Martin Tapsell - Technically this is obviously a purpose built bingo hall, but as it's Europe's biggest we had to include it. Seating approximately 2,700 players, during 2104 it also broke a record with the biggest single payout for a non linked game.

Gala Bingo Bridlington

4. Photograph by: Photograph by: Ian Grundy - Opened in 1938, the Ritz was an Art Deco style cinema. As well as beautiful interior friesework, it has a 'fin' on the exterior, something which really sets it apart from surrounding architecture as a true landmark. The shot of the interior is a recent one, which shows the original ceiling detail which was for many years hidden behind a false ceiling.

Gala Bingo Slough View across stage

5. Photograph by: Charles S.P.Jenkins - Gala Bingo in Bath Road, Slough is another old theatre, the Adelphi. It is still in good condition, and the original structure both internal and external appears to remain relatively unchanged. gala have however taken to altering some of the interior paintwork to match the clubs generic colour scheme, however, aside from that and the carpet if you squinted you could easily imagine the 'Wheel-tappers and shunters' on stage.

Gala Bingo Bridlington

6. Photograph provided anonymously - Mecca Bingo Southport, Lord Street. The plasterwork is not only ornate, it also shapes the interior, the ceiling being an amazingly complex set of arches. Again, apart from the bingo embellishments the club is mainly unchanged form its days as the old Garrick Theatre. Luckily this is a listed building, as many fine theatres have fallen to the demolition ball.

Carlton Bingo Whitley Bay

7. Photograph by: Ian Grundy - Carlton Bingo Whitley Bay is located in the Spanish City complex which has been providing holidaymakers with entertainment since 1910. The classical ceiling design remains, and the fine exterior is still in good condition having recently undergone restoration work. Not the biggest of bingo halls, but certainly unique.

Winners Bingo Wisbech stage

8. Photograph provided anonymously - Winners Bingo in Wisbech. The decor in this venue is quite unique. The design has Masonic undertones, the use of symmetry and in particular the triangles was not a common theme for theatres in the thirties. We are not sure who the architect was (answers on a postcard please, or email!), but it doesn't appear to be the work of the famed theatre and cinema architects of the thirties.

Gala Bingo Tooting

9. Photograph by: Ian Grundy - Gala Bingo Shrewsbury. A marvellous looking venue with highly detailed and intricate plasterwork. It looks recently painted, so we can't be sure if these are the original colours, or a 'Gala friendly' approximation. Again, this is another example of what was probably a one-off design.

Mecca Bingo Sunderland

10. Photograph by: Ian Grundy - Mecca Bingo Sunderland. The colour scheme here may be original. A lovely mix of pastels and deeper colours the whole effect is quite enchanting. As you sit there playing, you must almost be able to imagine the players on that huge 40 foot stage that was served by 10 dressing rooms. Stage acts disappeared long ago, but the venue still has the drama of bingo!

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