Glasgow’s Kelvin Hall is set to be transformed into a state-of-the-art Glasgow Club health and fitness centre and an exciting new centre of cultural excellence providing collections’ storage, teaching and research.
The Heritage Lottery Fund has announced a grant of £4,575,000 for the redevelopment of Glasgow’s Kelvin Hall, the former home the Museum of Transport and International Sports Arena. The transformation of this historic building is a unique partnership between Glasgow Life, Glasgow City Council, the University of Glasgow and the National Library of Scotland.
Safe, secure and publicly accessible museum storage will be created for the internationally-important Hunterian and Glasgow Museum’s collections. Around 1.5million objects, currently stored in various locations around the city, will be relocated to the new facility. This includes the only surviving complete suite of interiors by Charles Rennie Mackintosh for Mrs Cranston’s Ingram Street tearooms which will undergo conservation works in public view. The National Library of Scotland’s Scottish Screen Archive will also be partners in the project which will provide a new home for the archive and improved access for the public to more than 100 years of Scottish history on film and video. A new digital portal for all three partners will bring the collections seamlessly together online.
A community learning base will be created where the public can explore and learn about the collections, while a Collections Study and Research Centre will promote object-based research and teaching. Using the strengths of the partner organisations, a Centre for Cultural and Heritage Skills will be created as a national hub for in-service training, staff development and knowledge and creative exchange. The Kelvin Hall will continue to house sports facilities, with plans for a state-of-the-art Glasgow Club included as part of the redevelopment.
Colin McLean, Head of the 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.”
Councillor Archie Graham, the Deputy Leader of Glasgow City Council and 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.
"I'm delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has recognised the strength of our partnership with the University of Glasgow and National Library of Scotland and we continue to move towards our shared ambition of creating a world-class cultural and sports destination at the Kelvin Hall."
Professor Anton Muscatelli, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the 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.”
David Gaimster, Director of the Hunterian, said: “This unique multi-partner museum facility at Kelvin Hall will become an international hub for collections research, teaching and learning. The creation of the Hunterian Collections Study Centre at its heart will raise a new benchmark around the world in museum practice and public engagement with collections. Its creation will cement The Hunterian's position as a centre of innovation in the museum world.”
The National Library of Scotland’s Chief Executive, Martyn Wade, said: “The move to the Kelvin Hall will provide greatly enhanced access to Scotland’s moving image collection for use by researchers, learners and the public. We are incredibly excited to be part of this new cultural hub working in partnership with Glasgow Museums and The Hunterian to provide a rich, diverse centre for cultural excellence.”