Morecambe Winter Gardens is set for a remarkable restoration, thanks to a £2.78 million grant secured with the help of a Sheffield professor.
The seaside theatre was once one of the country’s most popular venues, drawing tourists from across the UK. The funding was awarded by the Cultural Development Fund, helping the building to return as one of the best music venues in the north of England.
Professor Vanessa Toulmin, Director of City and Culture at the University of Sheffield, grew up in Morecambe. For the past three years she has been Chair of the Morecambe Winter Gardens Preservation Trust.
Professor Toulmin said: “This is a historic day for the Winter Gardens and marks the single biggest investment in the theatre for over 100 years. I am overjoyed for the residents of Morecambe who have shown such love and loyalty to the building over the many years of disappointment, thankful for the support of my Board, our Partners, our donors and funders and of course our wonderful volunteers.
“We still have a long way to go, but this funding gets us nearer to our ambition of making our building sing and be known once again as the people’s palace – the Albert Hall of the North.”
A group of dedicated volunteers formed the Preservation Trust in 2006 and have since worked tirelessly on the building’s improvement. They’ve cleaned, restored, and fundraised to bring the building back so it can once again be at the heart of the region’s entertainment, culture and economy.
The funding, which is the largest single investment the venue has received in over a 100 years, will also be used to launch a new work experience initiative to help young creatives from Lancashire get access to and develop careers in the arts industry.