Date of closure: 30th July 2011
Address (for reference only):
Gala Bingo Woolwich closed on 30th July 2011, Gala having been made an offer for the building which was financially too hard for them to refuse. The club was located in the premises of what was once the Granada Theatre.
Although main usage was theatre, films were shown at the theatre and in later years it was used for pop concerts. From the early sixties bingo ‘crept in’ on week nights for a trial period, although this could not have been a great success as full-time cinema screening resumed in 1965. However, a year later Granada converted the venue to bingo, and were taken over by Gala Bingo in May 1991, during one of the last waves of cinema buy outs.
A listed building, it is now owned by a church, the transfer of the usage of bingo premises to a place of worship now being quite a common occurrence. Although we lament the demise of any bingo club or hall, at least this one is likely to have its original features kept, and we wish the new owners the best of luck.
If you have any further details that may assist us, and you would like to share them with our readers, we would love to hear from you.
By Gareth Whieldon (July 2012)
Other Lost Halls In The Area
As you can see from the photos below, Gala Woolwich resided in a stunning and enormous ex-theatre. The Granada opened in 1937 under the attendance of some of the stars of the day. Much of the decor is in Gothic style, a departure from the more common Art Deco design which was prevalent at the time. Although the club has closed, the building is listed, and as it has been purchased by a church, we are hopeful that the interior will remain pretty much unchanged.
The further photographs below were kindly provided by Charles S.P. Jenkins and show a great deal of detail, from which we can see the true grandeur of the theatre. It’s not surprising that the premises were bought by a church, as some of the structure almost mirrors that of a place of worship, as the interior was designed in Gothic style by Theodore Komisarjevsky. The panel paintings were originals by artist Vladimir Polunin, which again exemplify a Gothic theme. There is also a hall of mirrors which was a waiting area. Much of the detailed shots show workmanship that is rarely seen today, and could only be replicated by the most skilled of craftsmen, which is why it is so important that buildings such as this are preserved.
The exterior of the building was in Art Deco style, by architect Reginald H. Uren, which was quite common at the time, however, that’s not to take away anything from the splendid job he did at creating a real landmark.
Some of photographs were taken in November 2010, while the club was still open, others taken after bingo had ceased, and the building had become a church, the watchman kindly letting Charles in to take some photographs of the hall of mirrors which he had missed out on during a previous trip to the old theatre. These are some great photographs, my personal favourites being the happy smiling bingo winner leaving the club with a pocket full of cash, the chandelier, the hall of mirrors, and the magnificent interior arches.
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.