by Rebecca Weinberg
Members of a Glasgow group are continuing their campaign to fight off privatisation of the People’s Palace and Winter Gardens – alongside ensuring its rejuvenation.
Friends of the People’s Palace and Winter Gardens (FPPWG) began their investigation and subsequent protest in December 2018, when Glasgow City Council closed the museum and gardens in order to carry out essential repairs.
Using a freedom of information request, the group learned that the Winter Gardens was not as significantly damaged as the council claimed.
FPPWG committee member Margaret Cochrane said: “When we got the freedom of information report, there’s not a lot of damage in there at all. So, the closure had a kind of under-the-wire thing where we felt [the council] was maybe looking to sell it off.
“I know we’ve got a tourist industry and that’s great, but we’ve still got the people of Glasgow. We can’t just dismiss our needs for tourism. I think we’ve put a stop to it.
“David McDonald is the council’s deputy leader and he’s been working with us. I must admit, he’s very enthusiastic – he’s come out in favour of everything we’ve been saying.”
Speaking to UWS News, Councillor McDonald said: “As I have political responsibility in the city for culture and vibrancy, securing the future of the People’s Palace has been one of my top priorities.
Since its shock closure, I have helped secure a £350,000 investment in the building to ensure that the museum could re-open. In October of last year, I also steered the new strategy for the future of the People’s Palace through committee. FPPWG are one of the key stakeholders I am working with, and they are now represented on the sounding board.”
The Winter Gardens remain closed to this current date, but these dedicated committee members will be around to ensure that it is restored to its former glory – and kept freely accessible to the people of Glasgow.