Date of closure: 9th April 1997
Address (for reference only):
Gala Becontree closed due to a lost in custom resulting from competition: a new Gala opened in nearby Stratford, and Top Rank and Mecca Clubs in East ham were offering bigger prizes.
The venue originally opened as the Regent Cinema in 1929, a medium sized cinema with 1,500 seats. An independent, it had a Classical exterior (see image below), and was equipped for theatrical productions, having four dressing rooms and a stage. The Kessex Cinemas chain took over, and was then ‘swallowed up’ like many others of the era by Odeon in 1942.
Closing in 1970, it stood empty for many years before Coral took over and converted the building for bingo. Its last bingo operators were Gala who closed the operation in 1997. The building has since been converted, like many bingo halls, into a church.
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By Gareth Whieldon (August 2012)