Barney’s Bingo Hall Saved From Wrecking Ball and Turned into Gym

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Alan Evans

Updated by Alan Evans

News Writer

Last Updated 10th Jun 2024, 03:09 PM

Barney’s Bingo Hall Saved From Wrecking Ball and Turned into Gym

With the recent statistics pointing to the demise of bingo halls in the UK, thankfully there are some bucking the trend, which are being saved and repurposed.  

The Wonderful Victorians Made Buildings to Last 

Many of the UK bingo halls hark back to the early part of the twentieth century and were usually established in old, historic Victorian buildings. They were the only places able to house hundreds of people a day who played Bingo as a recreational pastime before the advent of online Bingo.  

These were smoke filled halls where predominantly elderly ladies nipped in on a weekday or for evening sessions to try and win the little money that was on offer compared to today’s substantial jackpots and bonuses at some halls.   

Traditionally, callers were smartly dressed, sometimes even sporting a tuxedo. It was imperative that the caller was clearly spoken and able to withstand the incredibly smoke-filled rooms. 

Thankfully, there are now no smoking policies in place at bingo halls.  

Barney’s Gym is a Win for All 

Barney’s Bingo Hall in Fleetwood, Lancashire, is a great example of an old Victorian former cinema then bingo hall that has been saved having been repurposed to house a gym and community hub. 

Could we be seeing more of these repurposed bingo halls across the UK? 

It is likely if the present trend of closures continues, and the online game becomes increasingly popular. No need to leave the comfort of your own home or to pay bus fares or parking fees.  

Barney's had fallen into disrepair and became a sad sight for locals and tourists. Thankfully, it was purchased by a private company (Wyre Marine) who have set about getting it restored and repurposed.  

Grand Halls Taking a Fall  

Sadly, the same glorious rebirth has not happened for another bingo hall in Halifax. This wonderfully grand building and former cinema designed by architect George Coles has suffered a fire, been reopened, and closed a couple of times after serving the community as a Bingo Hall for Top Rank and Mecca Bingo.  

Mecca bingo building in Halifax

 Mecca Bingo Hall, formerly the Halifax Odeon on Broad Street, Halifax. (Image: West Yorkshire Images / Alamy)

Images in a national newspaper showed the deserted building, complete with rows of tables decked out, ready for a game of bingo. High Streets across the UK are struggling to survive, with consumers able to bag a bargain online without the costs of travel, parking, bags, and the time it takes.

Bingo Halls have traditionally been located somewhere close to, if not on, High Streets in their heyday. They offer a fantastic opportunity for repurposing because of their grandeur and scale. 

The Grand in Bournemouth set to become a gym and the Carlton in Liverpool set to become a car wash with an attached convenience store. My aunty Betty would turn in her grave but for the owners of these buildings, there may just be a brighter future ahead.

Meet The Author

Alan Evans
Alan Evans
News Writer News Writer

Most of my career was spent in teaching including at one of the UK’s top private schools. I left London in 2000 and set up home in Wales raising four beautiful children. I enrolled at University where I studied Photography and film and gained a Degree and subsequently a Masters Degree. In 2014 I helped launch a new local newspaper and managed to get front and back page as well as 6 filler pages on a weekly basis. I saw that journalism was changing and was a pioneer of hyperlocal news in Wales. In 2017 I started one of the first 24/7 free independent news sites for Wales. Having taken that to a successful business model I was keen for a new challenge. Joining the company is exciting for me especially as it is a new role in Europe. I am keen to establish myself and help others to do the same.

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