Date of closure: 2 April 1997
Address (for reference only):
Top Rank Bingo
We are not sure what happened to this club although we can hazard a guess that as it was a Top Rank Bingo Club it was probably taken over as Mecca Bingo in the mid 1990s. This is guesswork, so if we are wrong please let us know. We do however know that the bingo hall was previously, as many were, a cinema.
Originally the Gaumont Cinema, it opened in 1937 with a capacity of over fifteen hundred. Crammed with Art Deco light fittings, the interior ceiling had a dome, and the proscenium was an impressive 45 feet wide. There was a fully functional orchestra pit for accompaniment to silent films, and this was enhanced by a Wurlitzer 2Manual/6 Ranks organ. The last film to be shown was “Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines” before the cinema closed in 1966 and ownership was transferred to Rank who converted the premises into a bingo hall.
Bingo continued at this site until 1997, when a new Mecca Bingo was opened further up Park Road on the site of the old Leo’s/Pioneer supermarket. That hall was only open a short time before it closed and was replaced by the Tesco Extra. To our knowledge the Gaumont building is now the site of a community centre, although we are not sure of the building’s present condition, or whether any of the original features remain.
By Gareth Whieldon (August 2010)