Saturday, 23 Mar 2019

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Following a news bulletin on BBC West Midlands on the 20th November 2008, where it was reported that this former Art Deco ballroom and entertainment centre was soon to be demolished, I went hotfoot to Nuneaton to get some final pictures before the demolition ball removed this building from Queens Road forever.

Co-operative HallI located the site and got my digital camera working.  Before too long an elderly lady, with her grandson, who were passing by, asked me what I was doing and she then told me that she used to regularly visit the hall and ‘dance the night away’. She told me that she met this handsome ‘fella’ at this venue and they later married.

Another lady, who had travelled up from Kent to visit her sister, said she also frequented this place on a weekly basis in her youth, and also met her husband there.

She told me that she witnessed a tragic accident on New Years Eve 1965 (picture right) when four people died following a crush on the stairs. People seemed to be sad that this building had been allowed to decline to such an extent that it was being demolished. It was not listed so was vulnerable to property developers.

Opened in 1939 as a band venue and dance hall on the site of a former Co-operative store, it was a popular entertainment venue, holding classical music concerts from time to time. In the 1960’s it was a venue that attracted the top pop groups of the time including The Beatles in 1962 and The Rolling Stones in 1963.

In its heyday there would often have been queues at the entrance and the canopies on either side provided some shelter in bad weather.  After it closed as a dance hall it was converted to a Kwik Save supermarket which seems an undignified fate for such a palace of fun and entertainment.

 

The Co-operative Hall, Nuneaton

 

Sadly the latest pictures shown in the Feature Gallery may be the last record of the former Nuneaton Co-operative Society’s hall which meant so much to so many people in the district.  Just to capture the atmosphere evoked by the loss of places like this all over the country, here's an appropriate clip captured from YouTube that might draw a smile (or a tear) from those who enjoyed the delights they offered.

 

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The complete series of pre-demolition pictures in the Feature Gallery were taken 23rd November 2008.