Morecambe Winter Gardens making 'fantastic progress'

October 17, 2019

The Winter Gardens in Morecambe is making 'fantastic progress' says the acting chair of its ownership trust.

Professor Vanessa Toulmin spoke about the ongoing work to restore the theatre after Historic England included it on their annual Heritage at Risk Register.

Professor Toulmin said plans were now in the pipeline to restore the theatre's ceiling.

The Heritage at Risk Register - an annual snapshot of the condition of some of the UK's most historic buildings - said the Winter Gardens was making 'good progress'.

The theatre has been on the register for several years but is continuing to work with various agencies to obtain funding and grants to aid the restoration.

"The Winter Gardens looks set to be Morecambe’s next heritage success story, joining the restored 1930s Midland Hotel as a must-see building," said Historic England.

"The future is looking rosy for Morecambe, with plans afoot for an Eden Project in the North. This will attract a whole host of new visitors to this historic coastal resort, who can enjoy the town’s heritage buildings."

Built in 1896, the Winter Gardens theatre was a thriving entertainment venue for most of the 20th century.

The building closed to the public in 1977 but was saved from demolition after the efforts of volunteer group the Friends of the Winter Gardens.

The theatre is now open again regularly for tours, events and concerts.

Earlier this year owners the Winter Gardens Preservation Trust was awarded government funding for a new heating system.

Prof Toulmin said: "We have made fantastic progress over the past year thanks to the support of Historic England, our trustees and Friends groups and our amazing volunteers.

"We have received £128,000 of funding towards a heating system and a governance review both of which are ongoing.

"We are awaiting confirmation of further funding to restore the amazing fibrous plaster ceiling which is severely damaged in the Gods area of the building not the main auditorium. That is why we have to restrict access and certain events.

"We are on a journey - a journey that has been taken every step of the way with our visitors, our donors and the people of Morecambe and Lancaster and beyond.

"Please continue to support and contact us via our pages if you wish to be part of it."

Nationally, 310 sites have been removed from the Heritage at Risk Register because their future has been secured, often by community intervention, while 247 sites have been added because of concerns about their condition.