We love Michael Hess’ book Bingo And Social Club. It records life in a number of UK bingo clubs circa 2006-2009. It’s a rare look into the secretive world of the UK’s bingo halls and their day to day running and culture. With so little in the way of this sort of documentary material for the retail game, it’s a valuable archive for fans of the game.
In the five years since the bulk of the photos in the book were taken, a lot has changed for retail bingo. There have been negatives like the smoking ban and the decline in numbers at some clubs. There have been positives too, the rise of electronic bingo, the younger players trying the game out and clubs upping their game to keep their players happy.
We commissioned Michael to do a special job for us here at Playing Bingo, to revisit the people and places in the book five years on, and some new places too. The aim was to create a set of photographs for the site that would document retail bingo as it is in 2013, looking at both the people and the places it’s played. For those that have also seen the book, it’s interesting to compare then and now.
Below are the galleries we’ve created from Michael’s photography, broken down by the club they were taken at. Some galleries are larger than others, some concentrate on the buildings whilst others put the people into focus. The one thing they all have in common is that as a document of modern bingo, they are an eye-catching record of a fleeting moment at the clubs.
Listed below are the photo galleries of UK bingo clubs photographed by Michael Hess for Playing Bingo. To see the photos, click on the gallery tab at the appropriate clubs page, listed below.
- Bedworth – Palace Bingo
- Biggleswade – Flutters Bingo
- Coalville – Flutters Bingo
- Coventry – Club Rialto
- Hinckley – Flutters Bingo
- Mansfield – Strand Bingo
- Newcastle Upon Tyne – Ritz Bingo
- Nuneaton – Grand Bingo
- Rushden – Flutters Bingo
- Skegness – North Parade Social Club
- South Shields – Crown Bingo and Social Club
- Worksop – Regors Bingo & Social Club
- Worksop – Top Ten Bingo