Date of closure: 27 November 2014
Address (for reference only):
Gala Dartford was one of the few bingo halls to go through the rare transformation of bingo hall to place of worship, having been sold by an agency which specialises in faith purchases. The reason for the sale is not known, however it comes at a time when Gala Bingo owners Coral are looking to offload their bingo clubs before a stock market flotation of the parent company. At the time this was the second closure in the area, with the East Ham club closing within the previous month, presumably for the same reason.
Gala Dartford was situated in the premises of what used to be the ‘State Cinema’. Opened in 1935, there were over 1,500 seats, and strangely for the era, the interior was Neoclassical, whereas most cinemas built in the period were Art Deco. The cinema was equipped for full musical accompaniment, including organ chambers under the stage.
The State became Granada when it was purchased in late 1949. The cinema closed in 1975, and was converted to Granada Bingo, latterly to be taken over by Gala Bingo until closure in November 2014.
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By Gareth Whieldon (November 2014)