2 April 2021

We are delighted to have received a grant of £10,400 from the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to help us recover and reopen.
“We are immensely delighted and proud to receive this support which will enable us to continue our ambition to restore and open the magnificent Morecambe Winter Gardens for Morecambe and Lancashire”
Professor Vanessa Toulmin on behalf of the friends, volunteers, supporters and Trustees of Morecambe Winter Gardens Preservation Trust.


9 October 2020

Morecambe Winter Gardens receives lifeline grant from Government’s £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund

  • Almost 450 heritage organisations in England, including Morecambe Winter Gardens  have been awarded cash from the first round of the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage
  • Grants of up to £1 million will deliver a lifeline for the heritage sector in England with further support to follow and larger grants for capital projects awarded through the Heritage Stimulus Fund
  • First major tranche of funding from the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund

Morecambe Winter Gardens Theatre is one of 445 heritage organisations across the country set to receive a lifesaving financial boost from the government thanks to the £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to help them through the coronavirus pandemic. 

445 organisations will share £103 million, including Morecambe Winter Gardens to help restart vital reconstruction work and maintenance on cherished heritage sites, keeping venues open and supporting those working in the sector. 


The grant of £20,800 will cover essential overheads and monthly costs for the organisation and will provide a lifeline for when the building is closed for essential heating work and restoration.  Like most historic venues the Winter Gardens has monthly costs, which the volunteers have previously found through revenue and events. The monthly running costs of the theatre are over £3000 and this funding secures future of one of Lancashire’s most stunning theatres by providing necessary security for the organisation going forward

This vital funding is from the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage and the Heritage Stimulus Fund – funded by Government and administered at arms length by Historic England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Both funds are part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund which is designed to secure the future of Britain’s museums, galleries, theatres, independent cinemas, heritage sites and music venues with emergency grants and loans.

433 organisations will receive a share of £67 million from the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage to help with costs for operating, reopening and recovery. This includes famous heritage sites across the country, from Wentworth Woodhouse in Yorkshire to Blackpool’s Winter Gardens, Blyth Tall Ship to the Severn Valley Railway, the International Bomber Command Centre in Lincolnshire to the Piecehall in Halifax. The funds will save sites that are a source of pride for communities across the country.

12 organisations, including English Heritage, Landmark Trust, Historic Royal Palaces and the Canal and River Trust, will receive £34 million from the Heritage Stimulus Fund to restart construction and maintenance on cherished heritage sites to preserve visitor attractions and protect livelihoods for some of the most vulnerable heritage specialists and contractors in the sector. 

The Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) has also been awarded a grant from the Culture Recovery Fund through Historic England. The AHF will use the funding to support charities and social enterprises occupying historic buildings to develop new business plans and strategies for organisations affected by the pandemic.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:

“As a nation it is essential that we preserve our heritage and celebrate and learn from our past. This massive support package will protect our shared heritage for future generations, save jobs and help us prepare for a cultural bounceback post covid.”

Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator, Historic Royal Palaces, said:


“There’s no truer way to experience the past than to walk in the footsteps of those who have lived it – that’s why preserving our built heritage is so important. 


“At Historic Royal Palaces, we care for six nationally significant buildings, opening them to the public and preserving them for future generations. Sadly, the pandemic meant that we had to stop some of our critical conservation work. The grant we have received from the Culture Recovery Fund will enable to this work to resume – so we can give some of Britain’s most historic buildings the care and attention they deserve, while supporting the specialist craftspeople who are vital for the future of our national heritage.  We are enormously grateful to the Government for this support.”

Professor Vanessa Toulmin Chair of the Morecambe Winter Gardens Preservation Trust, said: This is just tremendous news – as a small voluntary group we are dedicated to the full restoration of our beautiful building. Our volunteers who have poured their heart and soul into the building will sleep a little bit more easily today. 

The Morecambe Winter Gardens is a Grade II* listed theatre in Morecambe, Lancashire.  Run totally by volunteers, the Trust are embarking on an essential plan of restoration and plan to re-open the building in May 2021 with a restored ceiling and a new heating system. This support will provide essential running costs whilst the restoration starts over the winter months. 

Duncan Wilson, Historic England’s Chief Executive said: 

“It is heartening to see grants, both large and small, from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund helping heritage sites and organisations across the country which have been hit hard by the effects of Covid-19. These grants range from giving skilled craft workers the chance to keep their trades alive to helping heritage organisations pay the bills, and to kick-starting repair works at our best-loved historic sites. The funding is an essential lifeline for our heritage and the people who work tirelessly to conserve it for us all, so that we can hand it on to future generations.”

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of the National Lottery Heritage Fund said:


“It is absolutely right that investing in heritage should be a priority during this crisis and this support by Government is crucial.  Heritage creates jobs and economic prosperity, is a major driver for tourism and makes our towns, cities, and rural areas better places to live.  All of this is so important for our wellbeing and will be particularly vital when we start to emerge from this incredibly difficult time. 


“Our heritage is still facing a perilous future – we are not out of the woods yet.  But this hugely welcome funding from Government, and the money we continue to invest from the National Lottery, has undoubtedly stopped heritage and the organisations that care for it being permanently lost.”

Kate Mavor, Chief Executive of English Heritage, said:

“This support for our nation’s heritage is fantastic news.  Over the last few months, our teams have been working hard to welcome visitors back safely to the great castles, stone circles, abbeys and historic houses in our care. This funding will help us invest to safeguard the historic fabric of these much-loved places, which everyone can learn from and enjoy.”

5 October 2020

The Winter Gardens Morecambe has been awarded a grant of up to £25,000 in match support for their Crowdfunding Appeal Winter Gardens Morecambe – the People’s Palace.   With the closure of the building for four months and limited re-opening due to the Corvid-19 restrictions, the Preservation Trust with the help of the Friends of the Winter Gardens had mounted a crowdfunding campaign.  Their aim was to complete the funding necessary for the £250, 000 infrastructure work starting on the building in November including installing a new heating system.  

Professor Vanessa Toulmin Chair of the Winter Gardens Preservation Trust said – we embarked on an ambitious funding campaign to secure the £50,000 shortfall in our heating funds which we were unable to raise through event revenue due to the pandemic.  With the amazing volunteers and friends we have worked tirelessly over the past six weeks to put every penny onto our crowdfunding campaign.  With the award of match funding from the Architectural Heritage Fund our dream is within touching distance.  The trust shown in the new board of Trustees by the AHF is an absolute validation that the decisions and restructuring we have made over the past 18 months were necessary for the future growth of the Winter Gardens.  Every person who volunteers in the building does it for the love of the Winter Gardens and our amazing volunteers in both the Restoration and Building Team and the Friends of the Winter Gardens have made this happen. 

Matthew Mckeague (chief exec) of the Architectural Heritage Fund statedThe Architectural Heritage Fund is delighted to be supporting the iconic Morecambe Winter Gardens, a building we have supported for many years. We want to support the revitalised efforts to get this beautiful theatre open more regularly and throughout the year, and that’s why we’re pledging to match pound-for-pound any money raised up to £25,000.

The Winter Gardens Theatre has been re-opened partially at weekends with the Friends of the Winter Gardens operating tours, opening the café and local musician Peter Jetson treating the Sunday afternoon crowd to a regular organ concert.  Since re-opening over 5000 visitors have been o the building and donations both online and in the theatre are now approaching £20,000.  The Trust has three weeks to reach the final target with an additional £5,000 match required to take the total funds raised to £50,000 

Professor Vanessa states that it is heart-warming to see the love and affection shown to the Winter Gardens from all over the world.  We said in our crowdfunding appeal that the Winter Gardens is the People’s Palace and this appeal and the comments from the supporters has totally overwhelmed us.  We’ve had donations from America, Australia, South Africa, and many from Bradford, Sheffield as well as Lancashire of course.  But notwithstanding the contributions which are so essential – it is the memories that people recall that makes this campaign so fantastic.   The Winter Gardens Morecambe is on its way back after many years of decline and I cannot thank the people of Morecambe, Lancashire and the world for helping us on our journey. 

To donate to the Winter Gardens campaign where every penny you donate will be matched 100% please visit

Or drop by at the weekend and enjoy a cup of tea, buy a postcard or take a tour as every penny spent goes to our campaign. 

3 August 2020

Morecambe Winter Gardens Launches Crowdfund Appeal – Preserve the People’s Palace  – Press Release 

The Morecambe Winter Gardens has launched a crowdfunding campaign to preserve the building.  The Trust has worked tirelessly over the past three months to mitigate the effect of Corvid-19 on the future of the building. Raising essential money to pay for the monthly overheads of £3000 and clearing the historic debts. However, loss of income, cancellation of all events and current restrictions has seen their income drop by 80%. Despite the record amount of external revenue raised £250,000 all of these were for essential building works and required matching funding.  Professor Vanessa Toulmin Chair of the Preservation Trust states 

2020 was the start of a new beginning for the Winter Gardens Morecambe, to start the new season we had planned a number of significant events to enable us to raise the additional £50,000 required to match the funds already received and to enable the essential heating and restoration work to progress from November 2020.    But overnight our income was lost, our dreams in tatters as events were cancelled, our spritely but elderly volunteers shielded and the future of the building once more in doubt.  We had to make the choice of running the building but facing a deficit on the funds required for the heating and possibly risk losing those grants.  

By using reserves, renegotiating the mortgage on the building and working with the Theatres Trust and Lancaster City Council the Preservation Trust who own the building with the help of the Friends, managed to secure enough income to pay the bills and our fixed costs of £3000 a month for five months. After concentrating on stabilising the building and appointing new Trustees to help, the next priority was putting in a Corvid compliance booking system to enable the Friends of the Winter Gardens to start their tours and open their café.  Professor Toulmin continues 

The Friends and the Volunteers are an essential part of the success of the Winter Gardens – our volunteers on a Tuesday and Wednesday have continued to work in the building to ensure it’s safe and secure and the Friends have now opened the café.  But we have lost over £50,000 of income  – income that was essential to pay for the heating costs and essential upgrades to the structure.  Our crowdfunding campaign has been put together with the volunteers and the Friends – the people who have for many years given their love and devotion to the building for the benefit of the people of Morecambe.  Without them there would not be a building to preserve.

The campaign launched today takes as its slogan the original name for the Winter Gardens complex, the People’s Palace – and the Trust and the Friends are hoping that the people of Morecambe, Lancashire and the world get behind their campaign.  They have also submitted a grant for match funding so hope that every penny raised will be matched and help them reach their target.

Listen to Bernie, Malcolm, Glyn and Jan – look at the marvellous work they have all done and please help us move onto our next phase as a strong Winter Gardens is a strong and successful Morecambe. Every penny raised goes back into the building, we are completely supported by volunteers, no one is paid, every does this for the love of the building for the love of Morecambe please help us in any way you can. 

Rewards are also offered including a ghostly night in the building for ten people, afternoon tea in the Royal Boxes provided by the Friends and a special tour of the building by Professor Vanessa Toulmin.  The campaign will run throughout the year with additional rewards offered as the target is reached.  For more details see #PreservePeoplesPalace –

19th May 2020


The Grade II* listed building has had to remain closed throughout the lockdown, losing income from visitors, but the trust remains positive for the future…

mwG & COVID-19

17th March 2020

Due to the current developments of COVID-19, the Friends of Morecambe Winter Gardens have decided to postpone…


3rd March 2020

Following a six month review of the finances and commitments, the Winter Gardens Preservation Trust submitted a…


1st November 2019

The Morecambe Winter Gardens Preservation Trust today received the news that they had been awarded £123, 312…



17th October 2019

Historic England published their Heritage at Risk Register . Which is the annual…


5th October 2019

We are pleased to announce that our Acting Chair of Morecambe Winter Gardens Preservation Trust, Professor Vanessa…


2nd June 2019

The Friends of Morecambe Winter Gardens are launching an appeal to raise money to purchase and install the original seats from the…


23rd March 2019

£96,550 awarded to refurbish the heating system in the Winter Gardens Theatre in Morecambe to make it…


14th March 2019

Had five busy days of cleaning painting and meetings with Historic England Theatres Trust and conservation experts…


16th February 2019

Plans to lead Morecambe’s Winter Gardens into a “great and creative future” are underway with the launch of the theatre’s new board of trustees. 

Theatres at risk 2019

22nd January 2019

Over the past 122 years the stage of the Morecambe Winter Gardens has been graced by stars of variety, television and music….