Morecambe’s endangered Winter Gardens has received £123,312 from Historic England, which will help secure its future.
The Winter Gardens Preservation Trust has now raised 80% of its target for redevelopment and is “optimistic that the additional £30,000 will be forthcoming from other sources”.
The money from Historic England will go towards repairing its fibrous plaster ceiling, which is one of the most significant factors in the building’s Grade II* listing, and was commissioned and designed by Dean and Co of Birmingham.
The theatre, which was built in 1897, is on the Theatres Trust risk register, and it is hoped the funding will restore the auditorium to its full capacity of 2,500.
Theatres Trust architectures adviser Claire Appleby said: “We welcome the news of Historic England’s grant to help repair the spectacular fibrous plaster ceiling at the Morecambe Winter Gardens, a building that has been on our Theatres at Risk register for many years.
“This funding […] will enable the trust to carry out vital works to help secure the future of this wonderful building.”
Professor Vanessa Toulmin, acting chair of the Winter Gardens Preservation Trust, said: “With this grant from Historic England we are now on track to bringing the building back to full capacity.
“The work of the volunteers, my fellow trustees and advisory board, and the support of the people of Morecambe has been essential and fundamental to this progression.”
“The Winter Gardens is a jewel in the history of the resort, but also fundamental to the future of Morecambe is having a fully functioning event space and we hope that the Gardens can once again be at the heart of a thriving successful seaside resort,” she added.
The theatre will close for the season from December 7, with work and repairs being completed by 2021.
Catherine Dewar, Historic England’s regional director in the North West, said: “We’re delighted to be working with partners to help save the Winter Gardens, a real landmark on Morecambe’s seafront. The building is stunning and has a rich history, dating back to 1897 when it opened as a variety theatre and concert hall.
“Historic buildings, given a new lease of life, can help to turn around the fortunes of a place,” she said.