Communities invited to help shape People’s Palace redevelopment

Glasgow venue puts co-production at the heart of its plans
Profile image for Eleanor Mills
Eleanor Mills
Forced to temporarily close earlier this year, the People’s Palace in Glasgow has been granted a lifeline of £750,000 to revitalise its displays by consulting the city’s communities, as well as undertaking essential repair and restoration work on its glasshouse.

As part of the funding, information will be gathered from the public to help shape and co-produce design work that will identify the different ways in which the whole building could be used in future.

Glasgow’s City Administration Committee approved funding for the project on 10 October. The social history museum can progress on the basis of delivering three principles:

  • Revitalise and enhance the museum displays and content that tell the social history of Glasgow.
  • Retain the existing glasshouse structure
  • Continue free access to the museum and public areas.

Glasgow Life, the organisation that runs the museum, said on its website that “you will be at the heart of the development – we want the process to be inclusive and open”.

The first stage of hearing from the public is likely to be in January 2020.

A detailed condition survey of the museum’s infrastructure will also be undertaken as part of the £750,000.

The People’s Palace will put in an expression of interest to the National Lottery Heritage Fund later this month in anticipation of a full application for funding support being lodged next year.

Councillor David McDonald, the deputy leader of Glasgow City Council and chair of Glasgow Life, said: "We want the building’s future to be rooted in its past heritage, remaining as a focal point for the communities of the city’s east end while finding new and innovative ways to tell the city’s story.

“In line with the city’s wider priorities, the People’s Palace could also take on a refreshed role in helping us address a wide range of issues; from contributing to wellbeing and good health to promoting civic and democratic engagement. I believe the opportunities are limitless for the role that the People’s Palace can play in improving life in the city."

The People's Palace opened in 1898 as a centre for culture and entertainment that would build community spirit and promote the health and wellbeing of Glasgow’s citizens. The palace and Winter Gardens closed to the public on 31 December last year after an engineer's report indicated that the structural integrity of the glasshouse could not be guaranteed.

A £350,000 refit subsequently allowed the museum to reopen, but both the People's Palace sandstone building and glasshouse structure are currently in need of repair and refurbishment.

The Winter Gardens will close indefinitely at the end of this year “due to concerns about safety of the structure”, Glasgow City Council has announced.

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