Bingo Halls and Cinemas

When I was a nipper (as all smart stories begin) I remember vaguely, that native cinemas near American state were not doing well on movies, however some were turning into one thing else that I didn’t quite perceive. As a Saturday morning photos fan, I favoured getting to the cinema and was ravaged to seek out that on a Saturday trip to our native in Catford, South East London, in 1966, there appeared to be just one film. That film was referred to as “bingo”, didn’t enable kids in, and ne’er modified for following fifteen years! What was that blockbuster board game moving picture that recurrent every week?



Aaah i used to be so innocent in those days!

In fact there was an invention that had a dramatic result on individuals hard bent on Cinema from 1955 forager, a minimum of alb initio, the TV. Unimaginable to assume that the shrunken black and white indistinct set of beam pictures designed into a walnut wardrobe would have such a sway. If you could afford a TV, or going spherical to someone’s place that had one, it absolutely was low cost amusement.

Moreover until the 1960 there was a UK based “entertainment tax” to supply funds for the govt (originally for the primary World War) once you went bent on the cinema or theatre. This was scrapped in 1960, however the mix of the TV and reduced post-war incomes meant that the death knell for several cinemas had plumbed.

A lot of ad hoc cinemas within the Great Britain at the time reacted in numerous ways. So that some people dismantled a number of their cinemas and sold the land. Some re-opened to faucet into the new artefact wave of youth entertainment- the Bowling Alley (and the Lewisham one remains going sturdy today!). Others unfit, back to the past and have become dance/concert halls (with the appearance of rock n roll these were not getting to last long!). Whereas others embraced the new phenomenon… board game!

Some qualified their bets by keeping the venue as a twin purpose one- Bingo weekday and weekday, cinema alternative days, except diversion Saturday. Except for a short while board game was the salvation of the many of the venues.

Changing a cinema to a board game Hall was not that complicated:

1. Taking away the moving picture screen and make a stage.

2. Install necessary board game equipment and a couple of armed bandits (now referred to as slot machines!).

3. Improve the lighting in order that players might see their board game cards well.

4. Commutation with the stalls with tables and chairs.

5. If one wasn’t already gift, adding a bar or place for food/refreshments.

With the appearance of home computers, on-line board game, and plenty of alternative leisure and pleasures competitive for our time and cash, several bingo game Halls also eventually fell into decline and neglect.

However the sport of bingo game continues to grow in quality along with huge popularity and most of the people currently like the convenience of enjoying on-line. Simply don’t be tempted to yell “Bingo” once you next in your native cinema as a blast back to the past!

Gamble Aware ( is managed by the Responsibility in Gambling Trust, an independent charity which funds treatment, research and education about responsible gambling. The website has been developed by a Task Force made up of representatives from the Gambling Commission, DCMS, academia and industry.

Gary Beal

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