Beacon Bingo, Baxter Gate, Loughborough (Grade II)

Geo: 52.7731, -1.2035
Date ListedMon 17th December, 2007
CategoryStatutory Listed Building
AddressThe Beacon Club Baxter Gate Loughborough LE11 1TG
GradeGrade II
Grid ReferenceSK5383119803

Former cinema, converted to a bingo hall in circa 1970. built in 1936 to a design by Arthur J Price of the Harry Weedon architectural practice for Oscar Deutsch?s Odeon Cinema chain. Brick in two tones with a completely clad main elevation using coloured, glazed faience tiles. Modernist style.
EXTERIOR - The nearly symmetrical main elevation faces Baxter Gate and is entirely tiled with glazed, coloured faience, the tiles continuing around the curved corners to the start of the side elevations. The tiling to the ground floor is predominantly black but has 6 narrow horizontal bands in green. Above the tiles are white laid in a distinctive weave pattern, except for the top of the elevation which is finished with 3 alternating bands of yellow and green tiles finished with a course of black tiles forming a positive upper edge to the elevation. Unlike some examples elsewhere, historic photographs show that this green banding was not supplemented with neon lighting. Across the centre of the main elevation there is a row of five recessed double doors at the top of a wide flight of 4 steps, the doors separated by narrow pilasters. At the time of survey only the right hand pair of doors were in use, but original, the other 4 entrances being blocked by advertising boards. Above there is a simple canopy with curved ends. Historic photographs show that the edge of the canopy was originally pale coloured and carried signage, but this has been over-clad in black with red fixing strips above and below. Above the canopy there are 5 deep recesses divided by narrow, fluted pilasters that support a shallower canopy above. The central 3 recesses are filled with large windows that originally lit the balcony foyer. These windows are currently partly obscured by modern ventilation units. To the left of the main entrance with its canopy, there is a secondary entrance with its own flight of steps. The curved corners of the main elevation each have 3 tiers of recessed windows arranged as horizontal slits that are thought to light the principal staircases.
The secondary elevation (facing Lemyngton Street) is principally brick with a darker brick used for the ground floor than those used above; these darker bricks continue the line of the black tiles to the front of the building. Above, to the centre, there is a purpose built advertising hoarding. This is flanked by thin horizontal bands of darker bricks, and is protected by a shallow canopy. Rising vertically above the canopy there is a spine design in darker brickwork.
INTERIOR - The cinema auditorium remains undivided and retains its balcony, stage, and rectangular proscenium arch. It also retains its original coved ceiling lights and decorative grills that flank the stage. The entrance foyer is largely undivided and may retain original decorative details obscured by later linings.
HISTORY - The cinema was built for Oscar Deutsch?s Odeon Cinema chain and opened on 21st November 1936. It was designed by Arthur J Price of the Harry Weedon architectural practice, the practice that oversaw the designs of most Odeon cinemas in the mid to late 1930s. The auditorium had 1,029 seats in the stalls and 569 in the upper circle. In 1967 it was sold by Odeon to the Classic cinema chain which used the cinema for bingo until 1969 when it became the Vogue Social Club. It is believed that it was last used for showing films in 1974 but has remained in use for bingo and is now known as the Beacon Bingo Club.
SOURCES - Rosemary Clegg ed., 1985, ?Odeon? (Mercia Cinema Society); Allen Eyles, 2002, ?Odeon Cinemas Volume 1? (Cinema Theatre Association, BFI Publishing).
REASON FOR DESIGNATION DECISION ? (1) As a remarkably well preserved and accomplished example of the 1930s modernist cinema style employed by the Odeon cinema chain, at that time, style leaders in cinema design. (2) As a rare, largely unaltered example of the work by the Harry Weedon architectural practice, the principal practice employed by Odeon. (3) For the high quality of the architectural design such as the effective use of coloured faience tiling to the main elevation.

The description above describes the salient features of the building as it was at the date of listing. It is given in order to aid identification; it is not intended to be either comprehensive or exclusive.

Statutory Listing covers all parts of the property and its curtilage, ie all internal and external elements whether described or not.