I worked at Granada Bingo from 1976 for about 10 years. We moved to the site on the corner of North Street and Everuex Way after previously being in Bank Street.
The best thing about working at Granada Bingo was the people. Everyone got on together really well; it was a good team. The customers weren’t all older people; there were younger people too, contrary to what you might expect.
They occasionally had guest acts on Saturday nights that came and performed in the breaks of the Bingo. These include Ken Dodd, who was my favourite. He appeared twice and stayed for the whole evening, unlike some of the performers, who disappeared as soon as they had finished their act. In fact, Ken Dodd presented me with my leaving gift of a moses basket from my colleagues when I went on maternity leave for my third child.
There were three different bingo games – Main Bingo, Prize Bingo, and Party Bingo, but initially there were only Prize Bingo and Main Bingo. In Prize Bingo, there were coloured boards in front of each player, with numbers on each, and when a number was drawn the number was covered on the relevant board. The prizes were vouchers, which could then be redeemed at the shop at the premises. The items in the shop ranged from tins of food, to bottles of wine and toys, especially at Christmas. Different amounts of vouchers would be awarded depending on whether the player matched one line, two lines or got a full house. The items at the shop cost different amounts of vouchers.
Prize Bingo would happen around the sessions of Main Bingo, and when Main Bingo was underway, the shop for redeeming vouchers would be closed.
Party Bingo was like Prize Bingo, but winners received money instead of vouchers, and the games were more expensive. Main Bingo was the most expensive.
Taking it seriously
There were a lot of regulars, who took it very seriously. It was necessary for the customers to shout loudly to be heard, and occasionally people weren’t heard and complained. Saturday and Sunday nights were the busiest, but it was open every day, and there was afternoon bingo. It was often packed with customers.
On quiet nights, they might introduce new prizes in main bingo, like winning prizes for matching numbers in the four corners, rather than the normal lines and full house.
There was also a link-up with other clubs on some nights, with other Granada Bingos in the area – Coventry and somewhere else. The game would be played in all three venues, with the numbers called over the speaker. I only called Party and Prize bingo.