We’ve sadly just heard of another closed bingo hall catching fire. Top Ten Bingo in Southwick, Sunderland closed circa 2013, but that hasn’t lessened the impact felt by the local community. Closed bingo halls are often cherished landmarks for locals. Their presence often serves of a reminder of good times past, and many people find the familiarity of their surroundings comforting.
Also, land based bingo has made a bit of a resurgence of late. After many years of decline the industry appears to have regained a solid footing in the face of the smoking ban and online bingo. We are seeing new clubs open which may be in part due to a change in bingo taxation.
So when we hear of a club closing there is a hope of reopening that wouldn’t have been even thinkable a decade ago. Which is why a fire is so final, a derelict building can potentially be rescued, but a serious fire means that there is hardly any likelihood of bingo returning.
Luckily there were no injuries at Top Ten Bingo in Southwick, but police have arrested two people under suspicion of arson. We recently saw a fire in the old Riva Bingo in Cardiff cause the same disruption to the local community. Again it was a sad loss as even though a return to bingo was not really on the cards it was again a cherished local landmark.
So another one bites the dust. One local commented that the the building will probably be flattened and turned into a car park, which exemplifies the way people feel about the way that our historic buildings are slowly being turned into flats and other sources of income for property developers. It’s more than just bingo, it’s heritage!