Images reveal plans for major renovation of historic Springburn Winter Gardens

New images have revealed plans for how the Springburn Winter Gardens could look if plans to renovate the historic structure move forward.

The images, produced by the Springburn Winter Gardens Trust, are the outcome of an extensive design process to produce a plan for the restoration of the A-listed structure.

Derelict since 1983, the Trust was formed by concerned residents in 2013 as a last ditch effort to save the Winter Gardens, which were originally built in 1900. 

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After a community consultation and workshops led by the Winter Gardens Trust and Collective Architecture, the proposed restoration scheme was created.

It is centred around repurposing the main hall of the building – the largest single span glasshouse in Scotland – as a venue for performances and events, alongside a new café/bar and kitchen with outdoor courtyard.

The space is intended to act as a heritage exhibition space celebrating Springburn’s industrial and social history, using artefacts from the former Springburn Museum, which was closed in 2001. 

There will also be a new-build ‘woodland kindergarten’ childcare centre, as well as flexible studio, meeting and office pod spaces that can support artistic and community tenants.

The Trust said the architects drew inspiration from similar sized venues such as The Briggait, SWG3, The Glue Factory, Old Fruitmarket, BAaD in Calton and Edinburgh’s Drill Hall for their plans.

Expected capacity will range from 1,800 people standing for a concert, 1,000 seated for a theatre performance, to just over 500 for a catered event like a wedding reception or conference.

Paul Sweeney, a founding member of the Trust, later became the Labour MP for the area in 2017 and is currently serving as the Trust’s secretary.

He said: “The Springburn Winter Gardens has been a skeletal structure for as long as I have been alive.

“I remember being fascinated by this mighty ruin as a child when visiting the park. The loss of the Springburn Halls in 2012 was also traumatic for me personally and reinforced a feeling of long-term neglect of these fantastic architectural assets, which are of national importance.

“Springburn saw 85% of its buildings demolished, 40% of its population leave and an expressway built through the area in the 1970s and 80s. Restoring Springburn Winter Gardens is a critical part of healing the damage caused by the misguided thinking of that era, in concert with the wider regeneration masterplan that is being developed for the area for the coming decade.

“The trustees have worked long and hard with the community in their spare time to reach this important milestone of finally being able to visualise what a restored Winter Gardens could look like. It is a powerful statement of intent for Springburn’s desire to restore its rightful place as a key part of Glasgow’s economic and cultural life again.

“In a post-Covid Glasgow, this is exactly the sort of ambitious project that is essential to building a more vibrant and sustainable community in the north of the city. I can already see it in my mind’s eye and the impact it will have here is hard to overstate. As well as providing a fantastic community asset for the area to be proud of again, it will give the rest of Glasgow and beyond a reason to come to Springburn again too.”

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The total capital cost of the project is estimated to be £8.1 million, with the Winter Gardens restoration costing £3.9 million.

The building is currently still in the ownership of Glasgow City Council, but the Springburn Winter Gardens Trust hope to undertake a community asset transfer of the building prior to restoration works starting.

The new design has also formed the centrepiece of Springburn Winter Gardens Trust’s initial funding bid to the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The plan is expected to take two years to complete once the required funding, asset transfer agreement and planning permission is all in place.

Paul Sweeney added: “we are about to bring in new Trustees from across the community at our forthcoming AGM. The aim is to build a powerful alliance with residents, schools, churches, housing associations, the council, other community groups, and arts organisations. There is palpable enthusiasm to see the project delivered for the benefit of everyone in the local community, and indeed the city at large.”

Ross Aitchison, Project Architect for Collective Architecture said: “We know that preserving Springburn Winter Gardens as one of the few reminders of Springburn’s illustrious industrial and social history is more important than ever”

“As a practice we are working extensively in North Glasgow and are witnessing first-hand the immense changes the area is going through in repairing the architectural damage this important area of the city has undergone.

“Restoration of the Winter Gardens would play an important part in the cultural, social and community regeneration of Springburn and North Glasgow.”

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