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Southport's Mecca Bingo is a Hidden Gem
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Southport's Mecca Bingo is a Hidden Gem

Located on the corner of Lord Street and Kingsway in Southport, is the Garrick Theatre. Now home to Mecca Bingo, the building has had a long and illustrious history.

The Garrick Theatre opened in 1932 and had the capacity to hold 1,600 people.

Staged performances from legendary stars such as Julie Andrews and Laurel and Hardy were known to have taken place in this art deco masterpiece.

Designed by Southport architect, George E Tonge, the view of the building from outside has barely changed over the years.

The biggest change it has seen was when Mecca Bingo made the theatre its home in 2014.

The auditorium is now the bingo hall, with the royal boxes still used by bingo players.

Neil Newton of the Southport Visiter met with duty manager John Wood (also the author of a history on the Garrick theatre) and described what he saw on a tour of the building.

“The auditorium is a staggering sight, and has retained most of the magic of the 1930’s. Golden sunbeams, striking blue cornice and regal red seats are a nod to the building’s halcyon days. I’m impressed by the fact that bingo players can sit in one of eight royal boxes.

“Fire-proof doors, dating back to 1932 and made in Liverpool, are another hidden gem. Quite a few of the backstage doors have been screwed shut, only adding to the intrigue, created by this unique space.

“As my tour comes to an end, John points out a tribute to the buildings namesake, the 18th century actor David Garrick.

“I wonder how many of the afternoon bingo crowd appreciate what’s gone before their dabbers and dreams of riches.”

I don’t know about you, but I really want to go and see this bingo hall now! Road trip to Southport anyone?


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