North East UK news Eyes down! Bingo set to return as Mecca celebrates 60 years of 'housey' MetiNews.Com
MetiNews.Com - Bingo clubs are reopening after lockdown, including Mecca Bingo which opened its first bingo hall 60 years ago in May 1961
Breaking News ! Eyes down! Bingo is back after lockdown with clubs re-opening on Monday, May 17 Reopening venues is an even bigger deal for Mecca Bingo as this month marks its 60th year in business. Mecca has popular clubs in Gateshead and Sunderland - and among the planned special events is a 1960s pricing night on Thursday, May 20, celebrating the organisation's diamond anniversary. A whole 1960s evening of fun - a book of 12 tickets - will cost under £1. A Mecca spokesman said: "After a tough year for the high street, all eyes are on the leisure sector to drive people back into our towns. "A recent survey conducted by Mecca revealed that people were primarily looking to make up for a year of missed socialising and want a safe place to meet up with friends that also offers value for money." The organisation predicts that after a year of restrictions, it will see a wider and younger audience attracted to the fun and fast-paced experience of bingo. The spokesman added: "Safety is still the key. Mecca has employed extensive safety measures throughout the pandemic. The uniquely large and spacious bingo halls and lounges provide a safe and reassuring way to socialise." Bingo’s origins are believed to stem from Italy, where it is said the game began life as a lottery called ‘Il Gioco del Lotto d’Italia’, in 1530.
The Germans played a version of bingo in the 1800s, but they used it as a children's game to help youngsters learn maths. When it reached North America in 1929, it became known as beano. It was first played at a carnival near Atlanta, Georgia. New York toy salesman Edwin S Lowe renamed it bingo after he overheard someone accidentally yell bingo instead of beano.
A barmaid at a North East Mecca bingo hall in 1972
The Betting and Gaming Act of 1960 marked the beginning of a decade when a large number of bingo halls opened across the UK, often in cinema buildings where customer numbers were in decline. Mecca began its history in May 1961 when it opened its first Bingo hall in London - the Gaumont Peckham, a former cinema converted into a Top Rank Bingo Club. Today there are over 70 Mecca Bingo clubs across the UK, offering bingo nights, quiz nights, food and drink and more. Don't forget to check out our Memory Lane local history website that's packed with archive photographs and has an easy-to-use picture colourisation tool.
A Blue Plaque for Newcastle's 1960s Club a'Gogo which hosted the Stones, Hendrix and more
A Newcastle scene that's been almost totally transformed - see how it looks in 2021
Source = MetiNews.Com