Saturday 28 October 2017

The Saturday List #152 - 10 lost entertainment venues in the London Borough of Barnet

There is a rather sad little controversy going on in Golders Green as we speak. In this blog, we will not discuss the rights and wrongs of the case of the Hippodrome. But the fact that the Hippodrome, which was once one of the countries premiere entertainment venues is no longer and will seemingly be reinvented as a place of religious worship, inspired me to look at the changing cultural tastes in the Borough. Many well established venues, where generations have enjoyed themselves, have disappeared or been transformed over the last 40 years. Here we look back at a few, which reflect our chaning demographics. Each of these venues is quite different from the others. I think it is an interesting demonstration of how our locality has changed.

1. The Burnt Oak Bingo Hall. This tweet sums up the sad fate. It seems that Bingo is no longer considered a good night out. For sale for rredevelopment.

2.  Another form of entertainment venue that has disappeared from the Borough is Football stadiums. Underhill and Hendon were both iconic grounds for the local fans. Many stories unfolded. Now they are gone as part of a free school site and a residential development.

3. Then there was the "Irish scene", with it's spiritual home at The Galtymore

4. Then we had the "cheesy disco". For those of us in Edgware/Burnt Oak and Mill Hill, this was exemplified by Jingles, behind the White Lion. Although technically in The Borough of Harrow, this was very much part of the London Borough of Barnet nighttime scene. Sadly I couldn't find a picture of this.

5. For the pub rock bretheren, we had the much missed (and much mentioned here) Torrington in Finchley. This was the iconic venue. I personally saw the likes of Steve Marriott and Dr John. Now a Starbucks and a Barber

Image result for The Torrington finchley
The Torrington

6. Then there were the open air swimming pools. My local one was Mill Hill. The centre of teenage activity. Sadly council's decided in around 1980 that teenagers were not in need of places to meet and have fun. Now Etz Chaim Free School

Image result for Mill Hill Swimming Pool
Mill Hill Swimming Pool

7. The next one I don't really remember. Everyone knows Brent Cross Shopping centre. Not quite so many recall that it was Hendon Dog Racing track. Before my time but in it's day a massive centre of entertaiment.

Hendon Dog Track

8. Another popular feature locally was the Pitch and Put golf at Mill Hill Park. Now a "nature reserve" with a tiny "crazy golf" course next to it.  Whilst Crazy golf is fun, the pitch and put was a place where you could actually hone golf skills.

9. Then we have the High Street cinama's, such as the Gaumont in Finchley, replaced by The Arts Depot. At the time, cinema's were deemed in terminal decline. Happily the cinema trade has turned the corner. The Everyman in Barnet is a great example of how High St Cinemas reinvented themselves.

10. We finish with the Hippodrome. It was a fantastic venue. I deplore the Islamaphobic campaign against the plans to transform it into a Mosque, however, I do believe that the Borough should have retained this as an iconic venue. As it has been a church for the last ten years, sadly that horse bolted long ago.

Image result for golders green hippodrome
Golders Green Hippodrome

Have a great weekend.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great article. I have danced,swam,had a beer,played golf and seen a Panto on separate occasions,in most of these venues. Seems the only constant in life is change.