Norwich bingo hall and cinema which survived the bomb fails to beat the bulldozers

Demolition continues on the old Carlton cinema on All Saints Green in Norwich. Photo: Bill Smith

Demolition continues on the old Carlton cinema on All Saints Green in Norwich. Photo: Bill Smith

It survived a German bomb during the Second World War and an appearance by notorious hell-raisers the Rolling Stones, but the march of progress has well and truly caught up with a former Norwich cinema and bingo hall.

Destruction continues of the old Carlton cinema on All Saints Green in Norwich. Photo: Bill Smith

Destruction continues of the old Carlton cinema on All Saints Green in Norwich. Photo: Bill Smith

As our photographs show, the bulldozers have been busy reducing to rubble number 30 All Saints Green, near John Lewis in the centre of Norwich.

The demolition closes the book on a building which played a major part in the social lives of so many in Norwich and beyond.

The building opened as the Carlton in 1932, holding just over 900 people.

A year later, it reopened as a 2,000-seater cinema, complete with stalls, which could also be used as a theatre for live entertainment.


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Perhaps one of its most dramatic episodes came during the Second World War, during an intensive air raid of April 29, 1942, when an unexploded bomb smashed through the Carlton's canopy and burrowed under the outer wall.

It later became the Gaumont, when it played host to The Rolling Stones in 1964. It shut as a cinema in 1973 and became a bingo hall, initially trading as Top Rank before it became Mecca Bingo.

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Mecca Bingo closed after investigations found major structural problems and the repair bill was considered to be too high.

Landowner Telereal Trillium has yet to reveal what the future holds for the site, which is estimated to be worth about half a million pounds.

Heritage watchdog the Norwich Society has previously said it would like to see open space created, once the building has been pulled down.

The council has asked for photographs showing any historic features of the venue to be taken throughout the demolition, while interpretative boards charting the site's history will have to be placed on whatever appears in its place.

• What would you like to see happen to the site after the demolition? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.

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