Date of closure: June 2009
Address (for reference only):
Riva Bingo started life as the single screen Art Deco style Splott Cinema. Designed by architect William S. Wort, it opened in 1913 with a seating capacity of 750, which was expanded to 2,000 in the 1930s after modification. This was one of the first Splott Circuit cinemas, and the first to accommodate talking pictures, which required an alternate sound system and no musical accompaniment. The club opened initially as Top Rank Bingo, then became Mecca Bingo before being taken over by Riva Bingo. As a bingo hall it did very well, lasting until 2009 which is a few years longer than many of the other clubs to go in the first wave of closures.
By Gareth Whieldon (July 2010)
Update: We have since heard that the club was actually sold in 2006 due to the no-smoking ban, and that there are plans to demolish the building and turn it into flats.
By Gareth Whieldon (January 2011)
After a fire in February 2015, the building has been demolished. The daytime fire was so serious that several fire crews were needed to control it, and the whole area was closed off to traffic and pedestrians, many local residents having been evacuated from their homes.
By Gareth Whieldon (March 2015)
Two years on the fate of the former bingo hall is still undecided. In 2016 a planning application was made by local businessman Mr Malik to convert the building into 47 flats under the proviso that £767,801 would be used towards affordable housing and open space. But, due to the unforseen costs of clearance, asbestos removal and sprinklers, Mr Malik has said that he would be unable to meet the ‘community cash’ payment. The figure has since been reduced to £125,000 subject to council approval before the work goes ahead.
By Gareth Whieldon (April 2017)
Other Lost Halls In The Area
This club went up for auction on 24th October 2013, and luckily, as we are based in South Wales, we heard about it, and decided to pop along to take a few photographs during the viewing slot. As you can see, the decor is not of the most ornate that we’ve seen, but it is nevertheless an impressive building. Unfortunately it is a poor state of repair, however, the damage is not too bad. It is probably just at the ‘fixable stage’, as the damage caused by the weather doesn’t appear to have affected the main structure of the building. The render is coming off on the outside, and I’m guessing that the roof may need a bit of work, as there is a small hole in the auditorium ceiling, where plaster has fallen away, probably due to a leak. It may go to a property developer, but, hopefully it will go to a buyer who will convert it into something that will be of use for the local community.
If you have any photos from this lost hall, be it of its interior, the staff, special events, parties, customers and more; and you’d like to share them here, please contact us to arrange adding them to the site.