Tunbridge Wells Cascade Bingo – Mount Pleasant Road

This Club Is Closed Or Demolished
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  • Photograph by: Martin Tapsell (1986) - Interior of the now closed Tunbridge Wells Cascade Bingo - Mount Pleasant Road

Date of closure: June 18th 1995

Address (for reference only):

Independent Club
Mount Pleasant Road
Tunbridge Wells
TN1 1RT

Cascade Bingo held its last session in 1995 after the club had enjoyed a long history as a bingo hall under several different ownerships. Prior to bingo the premises were the home of a very successful entertainment venue – the ‘Opera House’.

Opening in 1902, a relatively small venue with a seating capacity of 1200, the Opera House had an impressive exterior, with a brick and stone facade, although its Mercury statue was removed in 1920. Inside there were several boxes, which complemented the overall opulence of the interior. There were paintings on the ceiling, and a painting over the 27 foot proscenium arch.

There was an orchestra pit and electropneumatic organ for accompaniment of the various shows which included opera, musicals, and silent films. With the arrival of talkies in the twenties a projection box was built, and following this the interior was redecorated to mark the transformation into a full time cinema. During this period the local operatic society put on biannual plays which continued until 1966.

It did receive a bomb hit during the war, although the damage was not serious. Further interior alterations included redecoration in 1949 during which the ceiling paintings were painted over. In 1954 Essoldo took over the cinema, and in 1966 they were refused an application for a bingo license. This was not to last though, as they were granted a bingo license the next year, and the last film at the cinema was shown in 1968.

In 1978 it was taken over by Ladbrokes under the name ‘Lucky Seven Bingo Club’, which was also taken over by Top Rank who traded until 1993. Cascade bought the bingo club from Top Rank, although they only lasted 2 years before closing. Much of the original features of the building still exist under the ownership of JD Wetherspoons who opened in 1997, who still facilitate the odd operatic performance at the venue.

By Gareth Whieldon (October 2010)

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