Former Cinema, now Bingo Hall – The Grand, Westbourne.
This is a recreation of a similar photograph I took some time ago for the Westbourne Life blog. That evening, I had gone out to take some long exposure photographs, set up the camera, only to find I had left the camera card back in the computer! By the time I returned, the lights at the front of the Bingo Hall had been turned off.
The Grand, Westbourne is a Grade II listed building that is largely unaltered from its heyday as a super cinema. Initially built and operated as an independent cinema, it was soon taken over by Savoy Cinemas, later absorbed into the ABC (Associated British Cinemas) group. During 1933-1935, it was leased to Regent Cinemas, before returning to ABC control under the name Grand Super Cinema. On 21 December 1953, it was taken over by Snape Entertainments, who continued to operate it as a full time cinema until 8 October 1975. From this date, it went over to bingo, although little conversion work was done. From 27 March 1976, films returned on a part-time basis, continuing with bingo the rest of the time. The last film was screened on 8 October 1977. The Grand, Westbourne was then purchased by the Bartlam family, who converted it to full-time bingo, reopening in Feb 1978.
It is by dint of the minimal conversion work that was done on the building at the time of its conversion that the Grand, Westbourne is now listed, thus protecting one of the few remaining examples of this type of cinema. Once a very popular part of British life, many have now been demolished. Of the remainder, most have been severely altered. Often, only the facade remains.
Poole Road, on which the Bingo Hall is located, is a busy road running between Bournemouth and Poole. I have chosen to take the shot from a low angle, giving more impact to the Grand, and strengthening the line to the horizon. The rain has generated more reflections on the road and pavement. It has created the starring effects on the lights, and enhanced the lens flair from the light positioned above the camera. When the shutter was first pressed, there were two buses at the bus stop. The first was just pulling away, the second can just be made out behind the shelter, being stopped for the first part of the exposure.
- Taken: 6 Jan 2017
- Camera: Canon 5D MkIII
- Lens: Canon EF 24-70mm 1:2.8 L II USM
- Focal Length 24mm
- 25 Sec
- ISO 200