UK Bingo Fans Asked To Help Create An Archive Of Lost Bingo Halls

February 28, 2008 (PRLEAP.COM) Business News
UK bingo site Playing Bingo has created a new section to record details of lost bingo halls around the UK. As the pace of closures speeds up due to the smoking ban and taxation issues, the site hopes to be a definitive resource on the history of lost and existing bingo halls. It's asking UK bingo fans to submit their stories and photographs to help them.

For the bingo industry in the UK, the last few years have been difficult. The introduction of the smoking ban and a harsh taxing regime has led to financial troubles for the industry, leading to the closure of a large number of clubs. Neil Goulden, chief of the UK's biggest bingo chain Gala Bingo predicts that as many as 200 halls could close around the UK as a result of the current trading climate.

Bingo halls have been closing down for a long time, since well before the current problems. Sometimes to relocate to a newer and more modern premises, and other times because a new purpose built hall has opened near by, making it difficult for the smaller halls to compete. Either way, the loss of a local bingo club is always a big blow for the regular members in the community.

Once a club has shut its doors, the unique atmosphere that made it special and the very culture of the club is gone for good. Often the halls that close are the smaller older halls, rich in history and design, many cinemas or theaters prior to their life as bingo halls. When these halls close, some are demolished, some are redeveloped as flats or shops and some are returned to their original purpose or find a new one. Whatever happens, in the process a lot of the fabric of what made the place special is lost, and cannot ever be replaced or recreated.

In response to the acceleration in recent closures, the UK Bingo site Playing Bingo has opened a new section as a place to mark the passing of these halls. The Lost Bingo Halls section is a growing collection of pages on clubs that are now shut. As clubs shut and people submit information to the site, new pages will be added with the aim of creating the definitive online archive of lost UK bingo halls.

Bingo fans can help Playing Bingo by submitting photographs, stories and information on their own lost halls. Members of closed, or soon to close halls are being encouraged to share their information and photographs. If they contact Playing Bingo, then the site will add the best content to its Lost Bingo Halls section.

"These halls are going, and no one seems to care about making a record of them, the wonderful architecture and community in the clubs. I hope with my Lost Bingo Halls section I'm able to at least give people a glimpse into what's been lost at these clubs." Commented the Playing Bingo creator David Lloyd.

"Unfortunately it's always the small clubs that suffer the worst, the ones with real character, soon there will be none of these small halls left, it will be all modern and bland, large scale purpose built bingo halls and that's a real shame. It's always saddens me to see one of these old style bingo halls close." Said David about the current situation.

Playing Bingo has for the last couple of years been one of the few online sites about bingo that's engaged in carrying information about both high street bingo and the popular online version of the game. The site encourages creative bingo players to submit their own stories and content to the site, to share with Playing Bingo's growing readership. With the introduction of the Lost Bingo Halls section, David hopes that many more will add their own stories to the growing archive of bingo information and personal opinions.

"I'm crazy about getting this information online about one of the UK's favourite games, there's so little out there online about bingo halls and their history, it's maddening." David went on to say.

As well as the history of lost halls, the site also showcases a growing collection of illustrated articles on existing bingo halls, the latest of which is an in depth look at the history of the Southport Mecca Garrick by architecture photographer and writer Ian Grundy. The wonderful photos of the club's lavish interior illustrate with great clarity the ambience and bingo hall style that's set to be lost when these style of older clubs close.

If you'd like to help Playing Bingo with your photos and stories of your closed or closing hall, they can be contacted via the site.