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Latitude: 51.0148 / 51°0'53"N
Longitude: -3.1054 / 3°6'19"W
OS Eastings: 322555
OS Northings: 124520
OS Grid: ST225245
Mapcode National: GBR M1.J734
Mapcode Global: FRA 46DF.D0W
Plus Code: 9C3R2V7V+WR
Entry Name: Top Rank Bingo Club
Listing Date: 29 September 1995
Source: Historic England
Source ID: 1116707
English Heritage Legacy ID: 442854
Location: Somerset West and Taunton, Somerset, TA1
Electoral Ward/Division: Taunton Manor and Wilton
Built-Up Area: Taunton
Traditional County: Somerset
Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset
ST 22 24 SE TAUNTON CORPORATION STREET
11/10006 Top Rank Bingo Club
Former Gaumont Palace Cinema, now bingo club. 1931-2 by W T Benslyn. Steel frame with brick cladding and Ham Hill stone columns, some travertine and Ancaster stone dressings in the entrance. Roof not seen. Rectangular plan, a large auditorium with single balcony, stage with flytower and dressing rooms, reached via single-storey foyer under former cafe, now offices.
Main elevation a tripartite composition, with three pairs of original doors reached via steps between Ham Hill stone columns. Three square casements in stone frame over, with sculptured panel depicting 'Love and Life entangled in the Film', by Newbury A Trent. Banded decoration to sides continues as cornice band. Original canopy has late C20 fascia over. The side elevation with small casement lights all set within bands of brick. Former stalls entrance to rear retains original doors and canopy, stepped arch panels and banded brickwork to flytower.
Interior reached via steps of Ancaster stone and travertine. Vestibule with original double inner doors, coved ceiling and small paybox in west wall over heating grille with fountain motifs. Foyer with coffered ceiling and extensive use of travertine as flat architrave surrounds to doors, openings and as surrounds to frieze of relief panels with nymphs symbolising land and sea, devised by A Hinton. Column bases denote staircases to either side, which lead via vomitories to balcony.
Auditorium now with additional staircase within, a sympathetic alteration. Broad proscenium with fluted surround, ante proscenium flanked by fountain motifs. These are repeated on a decreasing scale along the side walls, above frieze of intertwined frozen fountains which continues as balcony front. Ambulatory to sides and rear of stalls formed by columns with lotus-leaf capitals and with similar frieze. Shallow recess under balcony has fluted decorative ceiling. Principal ceiling with coved decoration incorporating ventilator within central recessed panel. Stalls now floored flat to above original level of stage. Flytower and safety curtain survive above false ceiling on stage, with dressing rooms to rear.
Included as an unusually rich and complete surviving cinema from the heyday of the 'talkies', this example is remarkably consistent in its use of moderne motifs and sculptural ornament inside and out.
Listing NGR: ST2255524520
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