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Survey set to uncover forgotten facets of Winter Gardens

An £80,000 heritage grant is to be spent on creating a clearer picture of the Winter Gardens. The cash from English Heritage will help Blackpool Council understand more about the building, as well as pulling together more accurate information about its condition and structure.

The Winter Gardens complex was bought by Blackpool Council in 2010, signalling the start of five years of repairs and renovations – but the work has revealed several undocumented closed up spaces which may delay some of the planned maintenance.

Blackpool Council’s cabinet member for culture and heritage, Cllr Christine Wright, said, “Not knowing what’s behind a wall or where a lot of the drainage or services are does cause us problems when we’re trying to repair the building or track down the root of a particular issue.  This will allow us to understand the structure of the building and plan for its future more effectively.

“We also know that it was often cheaper to adapt an existing structure or cover an interior surface than build an entirely new one and this explains why every now and again, new works uncover hidden historic details.  This work is also about understanding the history of the building better and recording some of those difficult to reach spaces.”

Cathy Tuck, from English Heritage, added: “We’ve been working very closely with Blackpool Council to make sure that we increase our understanding of the complex and this grant will help us build that understanding and produce a useful set of drawings to help plan for the future of the Winter Gardens.  We know that recent works have revealed significant amounts of historical interiors that had been covered over and this kind of survey will help us understand if and where there may be other evidence of the buildings’ earlier history, as well as identifying priorities for repairs.”

The surveys will record the whole structure to within 1.5mm accuracy and will uncover any hidden structural surfaces. The programme will also complement work for the stage two bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for the Blackpool Museum which is set to be housed in the former Pavilion Theatre.  Of particular interest is the condition of areas like the roof and the information will help designers in bringing together the vision for the new space.

 

Featured image by Jill Reidy of Two Old Birds Photography.

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