City council earmarks £33m for Burrell Collection overhaul

The new-look Burrell Collection is due to reopen in 2020.
The new-look Burrell Collection is due to reopen in 2020.
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Glasgow City Council is set to plough £33 million into a long-awaited overhaul of the Burrell Collection over the next three years.

Work on the £66 million project - which will see 90 per cent of the famous art collection on display compared to 20 per cent at present - is expected to get underway by the spring of next year under a new timetable expected to be approved by councillors next week.

It is subject to the Heritage Lottery Fund confirming a £15 million pledge for the project, which is expected to double visitor numbers when the new-look attraction is unveiled in late 2020.

The UK Government has already backed the project to the tune of £5 million.

The museum showcases the 9000-strong collection donated to the city by the shipping merchant Sir William Burrell in 1944.

Opened in 1983, the attraction has seen visitor numbers decline as the condition of the attraction has declined, with some under-threat treasures removed for their own protection.

Glasgow City Council, who owns the building, has warned the future of the building was “at risk” due to its deteriorating fabric, outdated power, heating and lighting systems and a leaky roof.

The “major overhaul” for the building, which has been in planning for at least three years, will see basement storage areas opened up to the public, the creation of a dedicated space for special exhibitions, and the conversion of offices into galleries.

The roof of the building will be completely overhauled, while landscaped terraces will be introduced at the front of the museum to link with its parkland setting and provide a new outdoor venue for events.

A report for next week’s executive committee of the city council states that the council’s contribution to the project will be capped at £33 million, subject to the HLF signing off its £15 million contribution.

Archie Graham, deputy leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “Sir William’s great legacy has been described as the greatest gift a city has ever received and we have a moral duty to ensure it is housed in the finest of buildings.

“The council and our partners are fully committed to unlocking the great potential of what is a world-class collection.

“The Burrell Collection is a masterpiece and the refurbished and redisplayed museum will be one of Scotland’s finest cultural assets.