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Report - The Gaiety - Cardiff - May 2011

Discussion in 'Theatres and Cinemas' started by pixman, May 28, 2011.

  1. pixman

    pixman 28DL Full Member
    28DL Full Member

    Nov 5, 2007
    Likes Received:
    The Gaiety, Cardiff

    The Gaieey first opened in 1912 with a single screen and an audotiruim for 800 people. The buidling was designed by William S. Wort, with the most notable feature been the 2 small domes either side of the entrance, which can be seen in the original picture, and also remain today.

    Back in 1912

    And taken about 19.00 tonight. You can see how the building has been extended upwards rather than outwards during future redevelopments.


    The cinema was enlarged to take an audiance of 1518 during 1934, by the same architect. The building was last operated as a cinema by the Jackson Withers Circuit, who closed the building in 1961. Since then it has been used by Top Rank as a bingo hall upto 1998.

    A guy called David Lloyd did a photo project on the place back in 1991, and the following picture shows the venue with the seating still in place for Bingo.

    This is one of his:
    Theres more pictures on his website here:http://playingbingo.co.uk/lost-bingo-halls/cardiff-top-rank-gaiety/01-lost-hall-gallery.shtml#axzz1Nfym0VGI

    The last tenant renamed the venue SPIN. By installing a false floor they were able to operate as a 10 lane UV bowling alley and sports bar with DJ's - but you wouldn't have guessed it. It is clear this this conversion is responsible for for removing and destroying the original features of the cinema. The building is bare, but in very good condition. Its an odd place to walk around, as the place feels like a very modern building, but empty. Literally nothing remains from the theatre / Bingo or bowling days apart from a lonely sign inside that said the the venue would be closing the public on the 12th Feburary, but I'm not sure what year this venue actually closed it. Oh, and a couple of dead pigeons.

    Starting at the ground floor, the Bar Area

    Assume one of the bowling Lanes

    Some dodgy Light painting.... I wasn't expecting an explore so ran to Maplins and bought a five quid touch.

    Shoe Hire, sadly none left :-(

    The basement, used for Beers.

    Going to the First floor the orignal circle dome still exsits, if a bit stripped, and the projector Windows are still visable.

    Inside the original projector room.

    A view looking towards the orginal screen. The building upstairs is pitch black, so I'm fairly impressed with new cheap torch!

    The building always had three doors, and exteria front of the building remained pretty much unchanged. Its only the inside that has been hacked to pieces.

    The Main stairs, with the only fitted feature left in the whole building... (The railings...)

    Top Floor (Hidden stairs right at the back of the building) where the safety mechanics for the safety curtain would have been just takes you to a small space with heaters and electrical components for air conditioning now.

    I have found a published diary on the net, dating 26/02/1941 and the person is talking about been in the cinema when the air-raid syrens went, and having to leave and go the big air-raid shelter next door. Not sure if this still exits maybe blocked in.

    Explore: Very easy access, I was simply passing after walking my girlfriend to work and saw access... explored by myself about about an hour ago. When I was in the basement I heard voices in the main hall - which is the only way out of the building. Been by myself there wasn't a lot I could do, So I chose the option of making much noise and walking confidently out. Result, some hoodies who weren't in the slightest interested in what I was up to, so after a quick nod, I just carried on. The building is located on a main road, but access isn't visable and the chances of been spotted are minimal. There were a couple of mattresses so maybe people sleep there at night. To conclude: A dead easy explore.

    The Future for the building: Its for rent, not bad either at only £85,000 for a large building in a heavily populated student area.
    #1 pixman, May 28, 2011
    Last edited: May 28, 2011

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