People’s Palace museum requires urgent work to avoid closure

Glasgow museum affected by safety issues at adjacent Winter Gardens
Profile image for Geraldine Kendall Adams
Geraldine Kendall Adams
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Urgent work is required to prevent the closure of the People’s Palace social history museum in Glasgow, which has been affected by safety concerns at the Winter Gardens, the large glasshouse adjacent to the museum building.

The Winter Gardens is to close indefinitely at the end of this year “due to concerns about safety of the structure”, Glasgow City Council announced in a shock statement last week.

The glasshouse is facing a repair bill of between £5m and £7.5m after a structural engineers report found that both the glass and the metal structure needed to be replaced to ensure it is safe to the public.

Although the adjoining People’s Palace building is not affected, the glasshouse provides the fire escape route for the museum. A spokesman from Glasgow Life, which operates the museum but not the gardens, said: “We’re working to ensure a solution is found which keeps the People’s Palace open, even if the Winter Gardens has to close.”

He emphasised that the museum remained open for business at present.

The council’s convenor for health and social care, Mhairi Hunter, tweeted that council officers were working on plan to “create a new fire exit in the People’s Palace so that it can remain open”.  

The announcement about the closure was met with outrage due to the lack of public consultation over the plans. A petition set up to save the museum and Winter Gardens has attracted more than 30,000 signatures, and the city’s residents took to social media to criticise the local authority’s historic underfunding of the popular attraction.

The People’s Palace and Winter Gardens were built in 1898, and were fully renovated ahead of their centenary in 1998.

The council’s statement said: “We want to secure a sustainable, long-term future for this iconic building in one of the city’s most loved spaces, so we’re working on a full report of the plans to be submitted to elected members and the relevant committee."

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