We never take any joy in reporting the closure of a bingo hall, but for some reason it’s even more lamentable when the hall in question is one that has a bit of history both as a bingo hall, and as a landmark building.
Gala Bingo on Barking Road in East Ham, is one of those bingo halls that for the past 28 years has been a solid presence in the local community, and will without doubt be sadly missed as a meeting place for locals, as don’t forget, bingo is not just about marking cards, it’s also about that ‘sense of community’.
The club which is due to close on November the 13th has already been sold and is apparently to become a banqueting hall for weddings. At least it is not set for demolition as so often happens, and hopefully little will be done to alter the interior which will add to the grandeur of a wedding venue, but they will probably be removing the bingo board and console. Although you never know, it might be a good idea to keep them for a bit of after dinner entertainment for wedding guests, that would be an wedding evening with a difference!
The venue was originally opened in 1936 as the Granada Theatre, which had seating for 2,468, making it one of the larger theatres in the London area. It survived a bombing raid during the war to become a music venue in the sixties with big name acts such as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones playing there.
In 1976 the club opened as the Granada Bingo Club, which was taken over by Gala in 1991. Gala have not to our knowledge given reasons for the closure, but bearing in mind their nearby bingo halls in Stratford and Dagenham they probably made a calculation that many of the present members may hopefully migrate to one of the other clubs to continue playing bingo. This may also be a preemptive sale in lieu of the potential sell off of all Gala Bingo’s clubs.
If any of our site visitors have photographs of the bingo hall and would be happy to share them we’d love to hear from you. Also, if you have any memories of the club that you’d like to share please contact us. Original article.