Day Trip Media

October 06, 2010 05:30 ET

UK Bingo Players Asked to Help Solve Mystery of Lost Bingo Halls

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Oct. 6, 2010) - A way of life is slowly dying. For years now, a rich heritage of bingo halls have been disappearing from the streets of the UK. Sometimes they're demolished, other times they are converted to accommodation or other usage. The sad fact is, once a hall closes, the culture and fabric of the place is pretty much gone for good as well.

Playing Bingo is a UK web site with a love of all things bingo, and it's decided that something has to be done to preserve this rich history of lavish halls and fun-loving communities. It has recently expanded the Lost Bingo Halls section of the website following the donation of a number of photographic archives of old bingo halls. Over 200 photos of old bingo halls and information on over 135 closed bingo halls has been added to the site. This makes it the largest online archive of UK bingo history available today.

As well as being a place where people can find out information on these closed clubs, or enjoy the gaudy and bright decoration of the bingo halls featured, the site is also asking people to actively contribute more content to the archive. Site owner David Lloyd had this to say,

"We think it's important these clubs are remembered. As well as the lovely buildings and interesting architecture, they also provided a great meeting place and haven for thousands of their members. The old style of bingo hall, converted from a cinema or theatre is fast disappearing, being superseded by modern purpose built halls that often lack the character and charm of the smaller converted halls. If you've played bingo at a club that closed and have information and photographs about that hall, we'd love to hear from you and add it to the site for all to share."

The site is looking for more photos and information on these lost clubs to help expand the archive even further. Anyone who is able to help is asked to contact David via the site. Even if you don't have this kind of thing for the site, you can still help. The site has a Bingo Mysteries page, full of halls and interiors that it needs help in identifying. David Lloyd says,

"We're particularly keen to hear from people about the clubs featured on our Bingo Mysteries page - there's over 40 images that we're currently unable to identify and add to the appropriate pages in the Lost Halls section. If you recognise anything then let us know!

It's a shame no one else has ever tried to keep a record of this stuff. As well as bingo, these buildings and their history will be of interest to many people. Their decoration is often surprising and enchanting, and as many of these bingo halls were converted from cinemas following the Betting and Gaming Act of 1960, fans of cinema architecture should also check the photos out."

As well as clubs which have closed, the site also features information on clubs that are still open with both the richly illustrated pieces of hall history in the Bingo History section and a Club Finder that invites players to send their comments about the clubs and halls they still play at.

With more than 200,000 players sat in a UK bingo hall at a peak time, and more than 3,000,000 regular players, these halls are an important place for many. Now at least something is being done to celebrate and record these little oases of fun, banter and bingo. If you want to get your memories and photos involved, contact the site. You could be doing your bit to preserve a bit of info on one of the UK's most popular pastimes.

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