A MAJOR revamp of a landmark Glasgow building has moved a step closer with a £4.5 million lottery grant.
Plans to transform Glasgow’s Kelvin Hall into an innovative museum and sports centre have been boosted by a grant of £4,575,000 from Heritage Lottery Fund.
Under the proposals, the historic building will become a “centre of cultural excellence” providing secure and publicly accessible storage for the internationally important Hunterian collection at Glasgow University and Glasgow Museums collections.
Around 1.5 million objects, stored in various locations around the city, will be moved to the new facility and made accessible to the public.
The “groundbreaking” centre will also operate as base for teaching and research, as well as a state-of-the-art health and fitness hub.
Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Life, University of Glasgow and National Library of Scotland are all working together on the project to transform the former home of the Museum of Transport.
Colin McLean, head of Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said: “The Kelvin Hall is a hugely popular building, much-loved by the people of Glasgow and beyond, so it is fitting that the lottery-playing public have had a hand in securing its future.
“This is a groundbreaking project which brings together civic, university and national heritage collections for the first time in the UK. The Heritage Lottery Fund is delighted to be part of such an inspired partnership.”
The revamped facility is to be created in two phases. The first, creating the shared collection store and sports centre, is expected to be up and running by 2016-17. The second phase, building public galleries, is due to be complete by 2020.
The overall project is expected to cost tens of millions of pounds, although no specific figure has been given at this stage.
The new facility will contain the only surviving complete suite of interiors by Charles Rennie Mackintosh for Mrs Cranston’s Ingram Street tearooms, which will undergo conservation work in public view.
National Library of Scotland’s Scottish Screen Archive will also be given a new home, giving the public better access to more than 100 years of history on film and video.
Council deputy leader Archie Graham, chair of Glasgow Life, said: “The Kelvin Hall is a historic Glasgow institution which has been home to world-class sporting events and housed our outstanding transport collection. This ambitious project will breathe new life into what is already a vibrant museums quarter with Kelvingrove, the Hunterian and Riverside museums nearby.”
Professor Anton Muscatelli, principal and vice-chancellor of University of Glasgow, said: “We welcome this decision to fund the first phase of the ambitious redevelopment of the Kelvin Hall. We believe that this is a fantastic new venture for the city and offers an exciting future for this important building.
“It will enable the University of Glasgow to provide a truly sustainable solution for improved collections care, access and learning opportunities, expanding our capacity for collections research, teaching, training and public engagement.”