Community group demand restoration of the People’s Palace and Winter Gardens on Glasgow Green

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The community group has been appealing for the restoration of the People’s Palace for years.

A community group is appealing to Glasgow Museums to restore the People’s Palace Winter Gardens on Glasgow Green.

Friends of People’s Palace Winter Gardens & Glasgow Green is a community group of Glasgow residents who are interested in ‘preserving and enhancing the park and its key assets’.

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In December of 2018, the Winter Gardens glasshouse shut down following fears over the structural integrity of the building.

The once flourishing temperate garden saw its rare and exotic plants relocated to the Botanic Gardens and Queen’s Park nursery in 2018.

All other plants were destroyed on site, with many plants becoming diseased and infected.

Nearly four years later the Winter Gardens remain closed, with no known structural work being conducted at the site.

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As time goes on, the friends of the People’s Palace grow increasingly concerned over the future of the Winter Gardens.

Dr Elspeth King, a former curator at the museum in the People’s Palace and founder of the campaign, said: “The Winter Gardens have been ruined, and the Peoples Palace itself is equally ruinous.

“The building was shut due to concerns over structural integrity - but there’s not a single pane of broken glass, it’s still fully intact and beautiful.

”There is certainly a case to restore the Winter Gardens, there’s no need to repurpose or re-imagine what it could become.

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“If the council were able to repair the botanic gardens in 2004, they can do the same for the winter gardens.”

The Winter Gardens on Glasgow Green in 2014 - four years prior to the closure of the temperate garden. The Winter Gardens on Glasgow Green in 2014 - four years prior to the closure of the temperate garden.
The Winter Gardens on Glasgow Green in 2014 - four years prior to the closure of the temperate garden. | Google Maps

The People’s Palace and Winter Gardens was opened on Glasgow Green in 1898 in hopes of providing culture to the destitute east end of the city.

It has faced many challenges in the past 124 years, closing for refurbishment for two years in the 90s, and a loss of revenue and visitors due to the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Dr Elspeth King continued:“We’ve heard absolutely nothing from GlasgowLife, and we really are trying our best to help them - we’re not against them at all.

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“All we want is to support them to get the whole complex back and working for everybody in Glasgow.

“We want to make sure that the Winter Gardens are not repurposed, resold, or sent elsewhere.”

Towards the end of last year, we reported that images of the derelict interior of the Winter Gardens were circulating. This led to criticism of Glasgow City Council, including from Glasgow MP, Paul Sweeney who described it as an ‘appalling act of civic vandalism’.

A total of £2.9m has been put aside by the council to develop and restore the Winter Garden and People’s Palace between now and April of next year.

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A spokesperson for Glasgow City Council said: “We have been clear about our intention to restore the People’s Palace and Winter Gardens to its former glory and, in setting the Council’s 2022/23 budget, we committed £2.9m capital investment for renovations to progress in this financial year.

“We have also submitted a bid to the UK-wide Levelling Up Fund and hope to hear in the near future on whether our application has been successful.

“Additional significant investment is required to secure the sustainable future of both spaces and to bring the museum up to modern day standards.

“Together with Glasgow Life, we are committed to preserving this invaluable heritage asset for future generations, as a priority within the Council’s Property and Land Strategy.

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“A programme of public consultation was undertaken this summer, which enabled local people to share their views on the future of the People’s Palace and Winter Gardens.

“The results from this engagement is helping to inform bids to secure funding from available national schemes. The People’s Palace is open to visitors every day.”

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