Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Tooting: Bingo!!!

Britta Hill

An interesting article by India Knight on luxury made me hurry to The Bingo Hall in Tooting earlier than I had planned - I mean: who can afford the expensive life in London for long? I didn't want to be seen in Selfridges - yes, I was there, at The Sales, and at Harvey Nichols and Harrods - crying: "Does my purse look squeezed in this?" (the headline of another article about the frightened middle classes, also in the Sunday Times, by Laura Weir.)
To be honest: most luxury clothes from last season look very much like luxury clothes from - last season. Most of the things I wouldn't have wanted even as a present. My glance fell on things marked "New" - not because 'New' meant 'High fashion' - but because they looked comfortable and warm - they start the Winter Season now (for the first time I thought: How sensible! instead of: How crazy!)
Back to the Bingo Hall. It was opulent - it was awesome!

Britta Hill

It was built in 1931 by Cecil Massey in full Art Deco beauty (first cinema under Grade I Listening). .
The interior 'was designed by Theodore Komisarjevsky, a set designer, making use of ornamental plasterwork by Clark and Fenn. It has marble foyers both at the main and balcony entrances, and a hall of mirrors and deep ceilings more suitable for a palace than a cinema.'

Britta Hill




Britta Hill



Britta Hill



Britta Hill


Today the over 3000 seats (in Golden Times filled) were empty, and only a few old ladies played Bingo down in the huge ballroom (or whatever). 
                    Did I win? I love mysteries ... by the way: have you seen my new car/yacht/castle and horses?
Oh, sorry: almost forgot about the law lex sumptuaria...



6 comments:

  1. Too good for Bingo, I think. A popular name for cinemas in the 1930s was 'The Alhambra'. This one is almost straight from Granada.

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  2. Your absolutely right: it is from the Granada chain. Of course it would be better used as a cinema (I think some times there also played bands) - and great as a theatre - but Bingo is better than nothing. Maybe it is a bit far outside for most Londoners (Zone 3), though you can go by bus or tube? The surroundings surprised me.

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  3. Here in the States, many old cinemas (especially the elaborate ones) are turned into community theaters. Perhaps the community where this one is located isn't fond of theater productions. Or perhaps the residents aren't willing to pay more tax for the upkeep? It's expensive to maintain those old buildings. Bingo or some other form of gambling might be the way to go to save them from the wrecking ball.

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  4. Dear Walk2write,
    that might be the reason why it is a Bingo-Hall now. I don't know whether in GB the community or the general taxpayer has to give money - but by the grading list I they must be safe from the wrecking ball. By the way: the Wurlitzer they ha - from the start? - is from Chicago!

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  5. Really interesting blog. I visited Tooting Bingo last year and was not disappointed! fantastic place- it even inspired a poem the bingo babes/ the granada grannies of tooting :-) s

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    1. Thank you! The grandeur of these places is fascinating. Where can I hear the song - is it on youtube?

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