Date of closure: September 2009
Address (for reference only):
Another great bingo hall has closed down in bingo’s Lancashire stronghold. The Orion was an independent that started life in 1965 having taken over the premises from a former cinema.
The building was designed by George E Tonge, and opened as the ‘Odeon Cinema’ in 1934. In those days a cinema was more than just about watching a movie: the theatre had shops and a cafe.
Like many of our beloved land based bingo halls it has fallen prey to reduced attendance along with local competitor Empire Bingo and many of the pubs, although we hope that they don’t go the same way. Let’s hope that the premises are not completely converted and that such a classic landmark can remain as a reminder of the good old days.
By Gareth Whieldon (October 2009)
Gallery 1 – The Players
The pictures in this part of the gallery are probably the most important ones – the daubers. These are the loyal patrons who kept the club alive for as long as they could by turning up and having a good time. It’s great to see people, particularly the elderly enjoying themselves, and this is what makes it so sad when another bingo hall closes.
The pictures show the house to be quite full, and one or two were obviously taken during intervals, as chatting can be seen, which ironically is why most people play bingo, and is probably why online bingo sites with good chat faclilities do so well. People do play for the chance of winning, but that’s only a small part what bingo is all about.
By Gareth Whieldon (August 2010)
Gallery 2 – The Club
The photos below are not of the people, but of the club itself. Of note is the impressive signage above the foyer entrance, which echoes the gaudiness ofthe early cinemas, and is designed to attract passing trade – like moths to a bingo flame, except, instead of an untimely end, most visitors were probably in for a good night out.
The bottom photo shows the circles that still survived from Orion’s cinema days, and it’s good to see the structaral intactness of the interior, although it does look like some of the fittings and decor have been modernised. The neon bar sign is also a familiar and friendly icon of the bingo hall, we’re just pleased that these photos were taken while this club was obviously alive and kicking.
By Gareth Whieldon (September 2010)
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.