By Aimee Braniff Cree
EERIE IMAGES show the remains of Halifax’ Mecca bingo hall that was once teeming with punters eager to win.
From the outside the building still looks imposing and grand, and inside images shows the rows of bingo tables ready to be loaded up with a Team Halifax sign on the wall where they could have shown off winners.
Photographs also show the auditorium of the building, which also used to be an Odeon Cinema before it was converted to a bingo hall, full of seats where people would have spectated the bingo going on below.
The site’s art deco style cinema was designed by the architect George Coles, opening in 1938, the former ODEON cinema closed on 18th October 1975 and was damaged by a fire.
These images were taken of Mecca Bingo Hall, Halifax were captured by urban explorer Daniel Sims (34) known as Bearded Reality on Youtube and Instagram on his Samsung Galaxy s21 Ultra.
“Over the past few years, quite a lot of the mecca bingos have been closing down, however this one only shut down at the end of last year so a local tipped me off that it might be open,” said Daniel.
“It was converted for use as the Top Rank Bingo Hall in 1977 and then was used as a Mecca Bingo. At the time of closure announcement the community was quite sad and it cost 20 jobs.
“The front was quite well sealed however around the back was a different story with the metal sheeting having been cut from previous copper raiders.
“The atmosphere was very chilled and relaxed as we went around the property and we were undisturbed so took our time with the place checking everything out.
“Also quite exciting to be some of the first people to record the place.
“Outside there appeared to be no damage to the building and was very well protected however it is a recent closure so I expect that to change with time.
“Inside was crazy seeing everything left slightly saddened that copper thieves had already gained access and caused some damage to areas but thankfully it is very little damage.
“The hall was amazing seeing such a space that has been filled by people for decades just lying empty now collecting dust was a bit unreal and was very pleased with gaining access to the behind-the-scenes areas where the old cinema sections were and seeing what had been left behind.
“With places like this I love the massive spaces and seeing what is actually left behind and what the current state of the place is like.
“It is always interesting to see the areas behind the scenes of places like these to see what the people who were managing the place got up to.
“Because the site was so huge we were here for a good two-hours exploring all the nooks and areas you don’t usually see filming and taking photos.
“The place was very peaceful. At one point we thought we heard other people inside the building but after a quick scope found nobody.
“Just seeing all the bingo tables laying empty was the most interesting aspect for me but then going around the place seeing what had been left and the messages left by the team that used to run the place made the whole thing a bit sad.
“After 60-years of being open in Halifax the bingo hall closed its doors in August 2022.
“I am always pleased with my work and what I consider a massive portfolio that I have been building over the years sharing my work and what I do brings me joy and allows people to see what would normally be not seen.
“People are very happy with my work and praise what I do as I treat what I do professionally and within the guidelines of the law.
“Local people are usually happy to see how certain buildings are being left and give an idea of the status of a property as well as allow people to share their memories and intimate moments from the place.
“There will always be people that don’t understand what I do or the laws around what I do however the way I see it is I am documenting history at a current moment in time.”