Eyes down and look in as Aberdeen’s bingo halls prepare to burst back into life next month as coronavirus restrictions ease.
To mark the occasion we’ve run Kelly’s eye over our archives to take a look at how people have enjoyed playing a game of bingo over the years.
Have a look to see if it stirs up any special memories… and if you spot any familiar faces, you can always shout “house!”
No, you’re eyes aren’t deceiving you… that really is Barbara Windsor and Ross Kemp at the opening of Mecca Bingo in Berryden in 1995. The EastEnders stars were greeted by hundreds of soap fans when they arrived in a horse-drawn carriage. They spent two hours signing autographs.
After it stopped being a theatre, the Tivoli on Guild Street was a massive draw for bingo fans for years. Our photo from 1993 shows the thrill of waiting for a full house.
Central to the popularity of the Tivoli bingo sessions was organiser Maggie Burns, who was constantly dreaming up fine ideas. Maggie – centre with her hands out – is pictured with some of the ladies during their Easter Bonnet Day in October 1984.
When bingo was first legalised in the early 1960s, it created a bingo craze with folk flocking to local halls in the hope luck would be a lady that night. This photo from 1962 shows the queue for the Kingsway Bingo snaking down one side of Frederick Street and up the other.
For years the Kingsway had been a popular cinema until the bingo craze saw it put to another use. It was a big draw for visitors in 1964, not long after it opened.
The queues kept coming right through the 1970s… and gave rise to an entrepreneurial spirit. Here an accordionist plays for the crowd as they queue up for the bingo at the Tivoli in in 1973.
Full house for a bingo session at the Tivoli in 1986… complete with state-of-the-art electronics for the caller to keep the excitement moving quickly.
In 1991, the Tivoli marked its 25th anniversary as a bingo hall with manageress Margaret Cant, left, sharing a toast with 87-year-old Isabella Taylor. The Guild Street building was converted from the Tivoli Theatre and opened for bingo fans in 1966, making it one of the first bingo halls in the city. By 1991 it had built up a membership of more than 25,000.
As it grew in popularity, bingo halls became slicker and more comfortable. This photo shows the Mecca Bingo Hall at Berryden in 2004.
Friends Anne Hewitt, Cathie Young and Jenny McGregor enjoy a night at the Mecca Bingo in Berryden in 2004.