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FEATURE: Morecambe Winter Gardens launch crowdfunder for foyer restoration

The Trustees of Morecambe’s Winter Gardens have launched a fundraising campaign to restore the building’s iconic foyer.

They’ve launched a new Crowdfunder appeal via Spacehive and Lancashire County Council Sports and Culture Fund, to raise £45,000 towards the full restoration of the amazing foyer tiles, ceramic floor and features.  

Click here to listen to our exclusive, extended interview with Professor Vanessa Toulmin, Chair of Morecambe Winter Gardens Preservation Trust, talking to Beyond Radio’s Greg Lambert about the project, plans for the rest of the building, and what’s coming up to enjoy at the Winter Gardens this year:

Above: Professor Vanessa Toulmin

The Winter Gardens have already raised money from The Prince of Wales Charitable Foundation, the Morecambe BID and the new owners of the Midland Hotel the Inn Collective.

Professor Vanessa said: ‘’The Morecambe Winter Gardens is currently in the middle of a five year restoration project.

‘’This work has to be complete before the main work, funded by DCMS and Arts Council, can begin, and this is not part of the funding we have attracted so far for capital works.

‘’Please support us by pledging your support, visiting the theatre, bringing in prizes for our fundraising tombola or just spread the word.  We need a floor fit for our beautiful building and once more we can reveal what has been hidden for over 30 years. 

‘’Our wonderful volunteers last year alone gave 17,000 hours of time to the building. But some things we cannot do, such as specialist restoration work required for our beautiful mosaic floor, designed in 1897 by the Campbell Tile Company.

‘’Its features are unique and bespoke. Years or neglect, vandalism and damage have resulted in the floor currently covered and protected, but as the more people come into the building the greater the possible damage.

‘’We have a small window of opportunity this October to March 2024 when we close the theatre for essential work to restore & replace the many thousands of tesserae tiles that make up the floor and replace elements of the Victorian features that were stolen under previous ownership.’’

‘’It’s hoped the floor will be able to be restored through traditional sustainable methods by master craftspeople, to reveal what lies beneath - a magnficent architectural feature that has been covered for a long time.

‘’Be part of the story and help us bring back this masterpiece of Victorian design to its former glory.’’

The Winter Gardens’ forthcoming capital projects will result in the building closing every six months for three years to undergo the major capital works they have received funding for.

It is vital that the floor is restored during this first closure period to enable them to complete it before the building undergoes further interventions which increase footfall and therefore more damage.

All funders & supporters will be invited to be the first members of the public back into the theatre for a preview day to see the work that has been done and to explore the theatre prior to the reopening in Easter 2024.

Supporters can also take in the volunteer days and have a chance to be part of the restoration during the two week volunteer period where our master conservator will explain the process behind the restoration and be part of the cleaning team.

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