IT started out as one man’s passion and vision that he devoted more than 75 years of his life to.

Along with his wife, Constance, Lady Burrell, shipping magnate Sir William Burrell amassed one of the world’s greatest personal art collections.

It was renowned for its quality of Chinese art, exquisite stained glass, intricate tapestries as well as its breadth of fine art.

Read more: Glasgow's Burrell Collection reveals public reopening date

And when Sir William decided he would donate his collection, Glasgow fought to give it a home in the city.

Now, almost 40 years after the Burrell Collection opened its doors for the first time in the stunning grounds of Pollok Country Park, it is entering a new chapter in its history. Following a £69million refurbishment which city culture chief Dr Bridget McConnell says will be a place of inspiration and hope which can stir the imagination.

HeraldScotland: Sophie Philipps carefully places bust of the author Honore de Balzac into a display caseSophie Philipps carefully places bust of the author Honore de Balzac into a display case

The Herald was among the first visitors to the refurbished Burrell Collection which will reopen to the public next month after being closed for almost six years.

The museum’s gallery space has increased by more than a third allowing important and unique objects from the collection, which have not been seen for decades, or have never been on permanent display, to go on show.

A new central stairway will allow visitors access to the lower floor of the Burrell Collection for the first time, where they can watch items not on display being cared for. A new temporary exhibition space has also been created. New galleries have been created on upper floors which will take visitors to spaces in the building they have never seen before.

Read more: Watch: Inside renovated Burrell Collection as public reopening date confirmed

One new addition is the unique story of how the collection came to be part of Glasgow and takes visitors back to 1910 to visualise how some of the artefacts made their way to the city.

For chief executive of Glasgow Life, Dr Bridget McConnell, the charity which runs the museum, what has been achieved here does feel special.

HeraldScotland: The Burrell Collection will reopen to the public on March 29The Burrell Collection will reopen to the public on March 29

“During those days when we were all stuck at home I longed for somewhere like this. As a refuge, as for many people that’s what these places are, it is a place of hope because you can see that in the collections and the stories and it is a place of inspiration," she said.

"You just have to have met some of the children who have been helping shape some of the interpretation giving us ideas on what works and what doesn’t, we have had 15,000 local people involved in this. They have been honest, as only children can be, saying what’s good, what works. You will have an amazing experience here. It is a huge public space but filled with so much to see to stir the imagination and the heart."

HeraldScotland: The £69m refurbishment of the Burrell Collection is now completeThe £69m refurbishment of the Burrell Collection is now complete

The Burrell is a museum which has had to fight for the affection of the city, but it's hoped this tide may now turn.

Dr McConnell added: "I think the beauty of Glasgow’s museums is people feel ownership of them. However, while the case was sadly in this museum that not all local people felt that, we have done a lot of work in the past five years, with school groups in particular, now let anyone tell them this isn’t their collection."

Funding for the £69m project has come from several bodies including the UK and Scottish governments and how the city's treasures are funded in the future something which Dr McConnell believes could change.

"I think there is case for why we should fund museums like this in a time when the economy has been hit so hard as a result of Covid and so many people need new investment in social care and education, but this is as important. This speaks to what makes us all human.

"When we are planning for a society that nurtures people and let’s them reach their potential, you need places like this because it is so important about giving that place where you can reflect you can understand the rest of the world. It is a window on the rest of world."

The Herald has been leading its Fair Deal for Glasgow campaign which calls on the city's collections and treasures to be funded appropriately.

HeraldScotland: Burrell Collection preview ahead of its opening to the public in March following the completion of a £69m revamp. Pictured is Dr Bridget McConnell CBE, Chief Executive of Glasgow Life. Photograph by Colin Mearns.Burrell Collection preview ahead of its opening to the public in March following the completion of a £69m revamp. Pictured is Dr Bridget McConnell CBE, Chief Executive of Glasgow Life. Photograph by Colin Mearns.

Dr McConnell added: "The current funding models, particularly here in Glasgow where we are seeing a local council with some of the biggest challenges but are also expected to fund nationally significant resources, that needs a rethink. Certainly the Scottish Government and the UK government have given very generously to this project, contributing to the capital programme but more recently the UK government have given us money towards the revenue and whilst it is time limited I hope they will feel that the benefits they get from that will compel them to continue to fund and we are also talking to the Scottish Government about exactly the same thing."

One visitor given a sneak preview thankfully wasn't reduced to tears this time as she was 40 years ago.

In 1983 Janice Layden made the Queen laugh by refusing to hand over flowers she was supposed to present to Her Majesty.

The 42-year-old was among the guests of honour yesterday, and said:“It’s beautiful, and even though it has changed a lot, it still feels like the Burrell.”