When management at the Hippodrome Bingo Club in Bishop Auckland got a call asking if it would consider housing a museum, they didn’t hesitate to cement further the links the club enjoys with its’ local community.
Dehenna Davison MP who made history in the 2019 general election when she became the first Conservative to represent the Bishop Auckland constituency since its creation in 1885, was the guest of honour cutting the ribbon on the People’s Museum when it officially opened last week at the Hippodrome Bingo Club in the County Durham market town.
Owners Majestic Bingo embraced the idea of celebrating Bishop Auckland’s heritage after the management team was contacted by local historian Michael O’Neill. Mr O’Neill, chairman of the community group behind The People’s Museum told regional newspaper, the Northern Echo: “The project has been a real pleasure and to be fair it’s the very best location in the town.
“I think we need to remind people that we had a really successful town that was even nicknamed mini- London at one point, and it is important to remember the people who built the town – the old miners, railway workers and steel workers.”
He added: “We are very lucky that Majestic are allowing us to use space in their building and they are committed to running the building as a bingo hall for many years to come. I want to thank Majestic Bingo and its operational director Eric Howell for being our partner in this venture.”
Majestic Managing Director Mark Jepp, commented: “We are delighted to support this project as it links well with our company ethos of serving the local community in Bishop Auckland. I think bringing the area’s rich heritage to life in a building that has been part of the local community for over 100 years represents a great initiative and it will remain in place as a local attraction that compliments the Hippodrome for many years to come”.
Dehenna Davison told her 38,000 Twitter followers: “This afternoon I had the honour of opening the People’s Museum in Bishop Auckland. I was also lucky enough to have a look around the exhibits, if you’re stuck for something to do this rainy weekend it’s definitely worth a visit!”
The Hippodrome Bingo Club is the last original theatre/ cinema left in Bishop Auckland. The building originally opened as a theatre in 1909, and shortly after became the Essoldo cinema, which was open until 1962 when the building became the bingo hall. The Museum is open to visit throughout the week whenever the Bingo Club is open and all are welcome to view the work undertaken by the community group and see the items on display. Entry is free and attendees need to be over the age of 18.