The Liverpool-based Pavilion Bingo Hall is undergoing £750,000 worth of refurbishments and redevelopment after it was burned down in a fire which is rumoured to have been an arson attack. In July, thousands of pounds were stolen from the club and the building was then set alight, which police believe was an attempt by the burglars to cover their tracks.
Despite this huge setback, three quarters of a million pounds have been used to refurbish the club, based in the Toxteth area of Liverpool and its owner Gary Armstrong hopes to be welcoming customers back from the New Year. This grand opening ties in nicely with the finding in the recent Portas report, which suggested that bingo halls are central for community togetherness and the redevelopment of the high street. Perhaps this is a sign that not all bingo players want to play online bingo and some still prefer to play in traditional clubs.
Mr. Armstrong has been in charge of the popular club, affectionately known by locals as ‘The Pivvy’ since 1993 and has 30 years experience in the business behind him. When talking to his local newspaper, the Liverpool Echo, he described the destruction of his club as still feeling ‘surreal’. Police believe the suspects broke into the club on July 29th and initially targeted the fruit machines in the lobby, then going on to make attempts to enter the safe, which they didn’t gain access to. It took three hours for fire fighters to control the blaze and by the time it was quelled, serious damage had been done. The event is still under investigation by the local Merseyside police force.
The building itself was first built in 1908 as a theatre and has hosted world famous acts in its time including The Beatles and George Formby. Back in 1961, it became a bingo hall and coincidentally, the halls original fixtures and features were destroyed in an earlier fire in 1986. The Pavilion is one of only two remaining independent bingo halls in Liverpool and this was one of the reasons that spurred Mr. Armstrong on in renovating it. Fully refitted with brand new ceilings, carpets and walls, this newly developed independent bingo hall will help to keep the community bingo spirit alive in Liverpool and perhaps tempt online bingo players into the traditional bricks and mortar club. The club had been hugely popular before the attack and staff hope it will return to its former glory.