AS demolition work continues at Mecca Bingo in Fishergate, York, we continue our look back at the fascinating history of the site which has had various purposes over the decades.

Readers have been fondly reminiscing of great nights out when the Rialto occupied the site.

The venue, which was located in the car park of the current bingo site, was famous for hosting The Beatles four times in 1963, but had a much longer - and dramatic history.

Even earlier, there had been a rollerskating rink on the site - and today we are sharing photos and postcards showing the City Roller Skating Palace from the turn of the last century.

York Press: Roller Skating Rink promotional postcards of 1910. Photo from Fishergate, Fulford and Heslington Local History Society ( Skating Rink promotional postcards of 1910. Photo from Fishergate, Fulford and Heslington Local History Society (

Impresario Jack Prendergast - father to Bond film composer John Barry - came to York in 1920 and took over the building, turning the roller skating rink in the back into a ballroom. Disaster struck in 1935, when a fire burned it to the ground, but it was rebuilt within six months.

Readers have been sharing their memories of the Rialto, from its days as a music venue and a nightclub, in our nostalgia group on Facebook, Why We Love York - Memories:

Stephen Oxlade said: "Its best days were before and after the Second World War when it was owned and run by the Prendergasts as the Rialto, giving us the wartime Sunday night films with Edward Farley on the organ and occasional big-band orchestral entertainments. Relieved us teenagers no end of the wartime traumas and the half starvations we endured!"

York Press: Jack Prendergast of the Rialto in YorkJack Prendergast of the Rialto in York

Ronald Hodgson said: "Saw every British band, and Lionel Hampton from the USA, what a player. Then Stan Kenton came over with his Big Band, and of course we had the John Barry 7 every week, he wrote music for every band that appeared, causing regular problems with some members who were maybe not the best 'readers' in the music world, but still made noises. A superb history, nothing has ever bettered the venue in York."

David Wreglesworth posted: "Never played bingo there but was a regular in both the Cat's Whiskers and the Heartbeat Clubs. My memories will stay with me for ever."

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Pollie Watson said: "Had many a good night at the Cat's Whiskers back in the day."

Pauline Taylor added: "I worked there for a while in the 60s and met two of the Beatles there. Used to go to the Cat's Whiskers too on occasions."

Wendy Cummings: "I met my husband at the Cat's Whiskers 50 years ago."

Jane Ann McCarthy: "The Cat's Whiskers - every Saturday night in the 70s, with my best friend Karen."

York Press: The Cat's Whiskers at the Rialto, which readers still miss todayThe Cat's Whiskers at the Rialto, which readers still miss today

And commenting on the about to be demolished Mecca Bingo building, Glyn Jones said: "We used to go to the old one before this was built in its place...feel old!"

Robin Dickson said: "One of York's ugliest buildings ever. How on earth it was ever allowed is beyond me! Sooner it's gone the better."

Share your stories and photos of York in our nostalgia group on Facebook: Why We Love York - Memories. Find us at