The National Lottery has provided £850,000 in funding for a project to transform the People's Palace and Winter Gardens in Glasgow.

Glasgow Life announced on Wednesday that it had secured the award from the heritage fund as the first step to a wider £7.5m award.

The iconic building is home to collections documenting the city’s social history from 1750 to the present day.

The ‘new’ People’s Palace and Winter Gardens will be a dynamic community-led museum and flexible space, which will foster new ways to promote inclusion, access, and participation, and minimise its impact on the environment.

The development phase will take around 16 months and will facilitate work with Glasgow’s diverse communities to discover how the museum can best tell the city’s stories, making sure more people’s heritage is on display in the refreshed museum. It will lead to a Heritage Fund second stage application, which will secure an additional £6.65 million of support.

The cost of the People’s Palace and Winter Gardens project is £35.9 million. Glasgow City Council has already committed £2.9 million to the project. A further £11m contribution will come from Glasgow City Council, while Glasgow Life continues to work with other public and private sector funders to secure the remaining investment required.

Bailie Annette Christie, Chair of Glasgow Life, said: “For 126 years the People's Palace and Winter Gardens has been one of Glasgow’s most treasured spaces, but it is now in need of significant investment.

Read More: The People's Palace, Glasgow's 'palace of pleasure and imagination'

“This announcement of Heritage Fund support is wonderful and crucial to breathing new life into the museum. While there is still work to be done to secure additional external funding, we can now move forward with this exciting project to restore, re-imagine, and improve a much-loved cultural and historical asset.

“We will use all we have learned about engaging with communities, developing innovative digital technology, and designing accessible spaces, to celebrate the people of Glasgow and tell the city’s stories in a world-class, accessible, and sustainable museum. This will bring a wealth of social and economic benefits to the people in the East End of Glasgow and beyond.”


Eilish McGuinness, Chief Executive of the National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “I am delighted we are supporting this inspiring project, which is not only about redeveloping a much-loved building, but also rediscovering the story of Glasgow and putting the People's Palace and Winter Gardens back in the heart of local communities.

“This initial support paves the way for an award of up to £7.5 million, which would be amongst the largest Heritage Fund awards made to a single project in Scotland. This reflects our new strategy to invest larger amounts in truly exceptional heritage projects across the UK, supporting our vision for heritage to be valued, cared for and sustained for everyone, now and in the future.

“Glasgow is also one of the first of 20 places around the UK that will share in our £200 million Heritage Places programme, announced last year.”

The Herald: Glasgow's People's Palace wednesday as funding for redevelopment was announced with NAtional Lottery being part of the totalGlasgow's People's Palace wednesday as funding for redevelopment was announced with NAtional Lottery being part of the total (Image: Gordon Terris)

Isobel Wilson, Friends of Peoples Palace, Winter Gardens and Glasgow Green said: “Today’s announcement of National Lottery funding to support the refurbishment of People’s Palace and Winter Gardens is excellent news. Our aim is to advocate for the care, preservation and enhancement of this much-loved museum and glasshouse. 

“We look forward to working with Glasgow Life, their partners and local communities to renew the People's Palace, a place of Glasgow's social history, and restore the Winter Gardens as a place of botanical inspiration". 

Councillor Ruairi Kelly, Glasgow City Council’s City Convener for Neighbourhood Services and Assets, said: “It’s great news that such a significant funding award has been secured for the People’s Palace. This award can add £7.5million to the pot, which would be a massive step closer to the goal of revitalising the People’s Palace and Winter Gardens.

“We remain fully committed to exploring every avenue to raise the remainder of the funding required to bring this major part of Glasgow’s working-class history back to life. We want to see the People’s Palace and Winter Gardens fully restored and functioning as a great cultural attraction for Glasgow’s residents and visitors alike.”