MULTI-Million Pound Vision For People’s Palace And Winter Gardens

12 August, 2023 | News

A £36MILLION plan is being drawn up to ‘restore and reimagine’ the People’s Palace and Winter Gardens at Glasgow Green.

Glasgow City Council and Glasgow Life are working on the proposals, which will require £7.5million from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The Winter Gardens have been closed for more than four years because of structural problems.

The Winter Gardens prior to closure in January 2019

A report updating councillors states: “The project will restore, re-imagine and enhance a critical cultural and historical asset belonging to the people of Glasgow.

“It will breathe new life into the People’s Palace and Winter Gardens, a venue held in large public affection and now in need of significant investment.

“The reinstatement of the Winter Garden structure as civic space within the historic Glasgow Green setting will provide much needed amenity space for local people and visitors and enhance the activity associated with the museum and the park.

“Combining repairs to a culturally and nationally significant Grade A listed building and glasshouse asset, the project will nurture the attraction within the local community to create a flexible space and provide a new museum offer.

“The project will restore the relationship between the two ‘sides’ of the building, improve access and orientation within the building and improve links with outdoors and with Glasgow Green.”

It’s estimated the project would be completed by the autumn of 2027.

The report continues: “The project team will work with the communities that represent Glasgow and tell the stories that they feel should be told to create a community-led museum and visitor attraction that engages local repeat visitors and tourists alike and reflects the people who live, work and play in the city.

“Our approach will be to put citizen engagement at the heart of the development, consulting and involving people on all aspects of the project.

“We will build on the great affection held for the museum and work in partnership with the diverse communities of the city to develop the city’s collection and new displays that support a greater sense of belonging and engagement for current citizens alongside a robust record of our shared history.”

The People’s Palace and Winter Garden opened to the public in 1898 and was Glasgow’s first purpose-built museum, the entire complex being described as ‘a palace of pleasure and imagination’.

Serving as Glasgow’s social history museum, it welcomes around 300,000 visitors each year.

It was last fully refurbished in 1998. In January 2019 the Winter Gardens had to close because of its poor structural condition.

Meanwhile, officials state that “the failing People’s Palace building structure, water ingress, plaster damage and aging mechanical and engineering systems are all putting the collection at risk.

They add: “The layout of the galleries and interpretation do not meet current best practice for accessibility and inclusion. Furthermore the existing environmental conditions within the Winter Gardens limit the opportunity to expand collection into these areas or support a wider range of activities.”

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