Exterior of Riva Bingo
Another bingo hall may be the latest to join the demolition pile. The old Riva Bingo club in Agate Street, Cardiff is up for auction on Thursday 24th of October. The venue opened in 1913 as a cinema, and although initially a small venue with only 750 seats, it was expanded to accommodate 2,000 seats in the thirties.
On conversion to bingo it came under the ownership of Rank Bingo, who took over a lot of cinemas in the sixties, and latterly Riva Bingo. The guide price is around the £90,000 mark, and it will be interesting to see how much the property actually goes for at auction, as it is a substantial building.
Being as I live literally around the corner, I thought I’d pop along to have a look at the venue under the guise of being a potential buyer, and I don’t think I was the only one doing this, as there were several viewers there, a couple of which, like me, were just having a look around.
I took a camera along, the results can be seen in the Gallery. As you will see, the building is in a state of disrepair, most of the damage appears to have been caused by water, the result of neglect over the years. The main auditorium has a small hole in the ceiling, which is usually a sign that much more of it is about to come down.
The bingo caller’s console was still there, which as you will see from the photo in the gallery is a delightful piece of technological history, most of that generation were probably thrown out years ago. The bingo stage had been taken away at some point, the premises having most recently being used by a church.
The future of the building is uncertain, as although it appears to be ripe for demolition, there is an electrical mast on the roof, which aside from providing a regular small income is also very difficult to remove (any new building would need a new tower built, which would be another added cost). So, there is hope that whoever buys the premises will convert them into something that will serve the local community, such as a theatre, or play centre.
There is a nearby leisure centre, and dance school, however, for local residents of the Splott area there is not much to do in the area, and another block of flats would be a poor replacement for what has for many years been a local landmark. Hopefully it will be snapped up by a buyer who intends to keep the original building; when we find out what is happening, we’ll let you know.