Winter Gardens Morecambe, the People's Palace

Total raised £27,039

raised so far

+ est. £2453.75 Gift Aid



Help us preserve & restore the Morecambe Winter Gardens Theatre, the original People's Palace - To keep the lights on & secure its future

We're still collecting donations

On the 2nd November 2020 we'd raised £22,729 with 409 supporters in 90 days. But as every pound matters, we're continuing to collect donations from supporters.

 New stretch target

Protect and Preserve the People's Palace. The restoration and re-opening of the Winter Gardens is a lifetime committment for many of the volunteers, who wish to see it once more became a beacon of hope, joy and culture in the heart of Morecambe. Our vision is ambitious but built on the love, faith and the committment shown by the volunteers who for 20 years have dedicated their time and energy to bring this building back to life. Our five year plan is to renovate layer by layer each area of the building from the auditorium upwards to the highest seating in the Gods to restore it to an amazing 2500 capacity venue one of the largest in the UK.  Any extra money will go back in the building to help secure our five year plan.  We will use this money to help the Restoration and Maintanance Team work on the building over the next six months cleaning, repairing, and getting the building ready for the restoration works in hand and future plans. We are currently awaiting decisions of major interventions to improve fire escapes, add additional infrastructure, rewiring and to restore the stage to a full receiving house. Any additional funds will help our lads and lasses get the building ready for re-opening in May, uncover previously inaccessible areas and pay for any equipment they need large or small.   We have always hoped return the building back to a fully commercialreality and your support makes it even more of a possibility.  Our long term investment needs requires up to 5 Million pounds of support and we have raised now £30,000 in less than a year.  Any additional support will enable that extra bit of polish from our team so please help us achieve this by supporting our fundraising campaign to bring the People's Palace back to the people of Morecambe. 

Thank you we have reached our target for match funding from the Architectural Heritage Fund- Morecambe Winter Gardens 


Morecambe Winter Gardens has secured match funding. Every penny you have donated the Architectural Heritage Fund have confirmed they will match up to £25,000.   

Update - We are so grateful for the love and support shown to our beautiful building from donors locally, regionally nationally and internationally.  We have 9 days to go to start on our Stretch target which will cover and support the Restoration and Maintenance team throughout the winter doing essential repairs to the building.  Any contribution large or small will go direct to our amazing lads and lasses for supplies, plasterboards, paint brushes and equipment to make their life easier.  We are constantly uncovering and finding the history of our building under layers of detris, paint and plasterboards put in during the 1970s and their work is uncovering the full beauty of the building and preparing it for the full restoration journey ahead 

This is our story

A new dawn for the People's Palace but then... 2020 was the start of a new beginning for the Winter Gardens Morecambe, a Grade II* listed concert hall and theatre situated on the heart of Morecambe promenade. (Find out more about our history).  We had worked tirelessly throughout 2019 to raise essential amounts of grant support, achieved the monthly target of costs required to pay for the overheads of £3000 a month,  and paid off the debts from previous management of the building. 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.

By using our reserves, renegotiating the mortgage on the building and working with the Theatres Trust and Lancaster City Council the Preservation Trust who own the building under our Chair Professor Vanessa quickly secured a small Business Grant. (Meet the Trustees). Then with the help of the Friends and our Trustees we managed to secure enough income to pay the bills and our fixed costs of £3000 a month for five months.

How You Can Help

Time is running out - we are totally run by volunteers and our income has dropped by 88% reducing our ability to match contribution towards our grants and no reserves for emergencies. We need to raise the remaining shortfall of £50,000 to ensure our heating and restoration works can start in November.  We hope that every penny we raise on here will be matched by others so we have set a target of £25,000.

Our Volunteers 


Bernie our retired French Polisher now in his 78th year restoring the mahogany doors of the original entrance.  Bernie has been a volunteer for 15 years.  Image Copyright Historic England

Our Volunteers have dedicated 1000s of hours of free time on the building over the last twenty years - they have rebuilt parts of the auditorium, repaired the stairs, rebuilt the dressing rooms and brought the beautiful building back to life.  These images were taken before the Trust bought the building in 2006 and before our amazing restoration volunteers got to work


Shots of the auditorium & foyer before our volunteers started work on the building.

Through tears, laughter, sweat and sheer bloody mindedness they have perservered despite vandalism, limited access to funds and inclement seaside weather!  They have worked with the Preservation Trust and the Friends of the Winter Gardens to bring us to this point where our shared dream of a viable working theatre was within our grasp. Our Restoration and Maintenance Volunteers


Trevor and Gerry cleaning the original Burmantoft tiled foyer and box offices dating from 1897 in 2019, photograph taken by Alun Bull Copyright Historic England. Images below taken before and after the work of our volunteers.



Friends of the Morecambe Winter Gardens

Since mid July, the Friends of the Morecambe Winter Gardens have returned to open the building offering tours, teas and coffees and a safe secure space to visit every weekend. 1595786885_img_5830.jpg They are on the ground opening the building, welcoming our visitors and doing their best to kickstart our funding campaign again. From taking tours, to running fundraising stalls, to opening the bar and cafe, our volunteers are determined to keep the building afloat in difficult times. But we cannot open for events, we cannot hire out the building, nor can live music or shows return once again until May 2021. We will have to sell a lot of toasties to make up for that loss of income! 


 Join the Friends

Our Appeal 

The restoration and re-opening of the Winter Gardens is a lifetime committment for the volunteers, the Friends and the many 1000s of visitors we have welcomed into our building every year.  We all wish to see it once more became a beacon of hope, joy and culture in the heart of Morecambe. Our vision is ambitious but built on the love, faith and the committment shown by the volunteers and the Friends who for 20 years have dedicated their time and energy to bring this building back to life.

We have a moment, a precious window cruely narrowed by the national pandemic to find the match funding required to bring warmth, heat and stability back to our building, to enable us to open all year round and open the building fully with a functioning auditorium and seated circle area once again capable of holding 1500 people.


Image Copyright Damian Rose 

We are so close to having a viable future for the first time since we closed in 1977, help us achieve this by supporting our fundraising campaign as part of Save Our Theatres to bring the People's Palace back to the people of Morecambe, Lancashire and the world. For what Lancashire does today the world does tomorrow.


About Save Our Theatres

In villages, towns and cities across the country, theatres are at the heart of their community. Places to come together, to be inspired and be entertained. Theatres are where our best-loved actors learn their craft and thousands of others learn valuable skills.  Please support the Morecambe Winter Gardens or any of our fellow theatres as we strive to once to welcome you into our palaces of wonder.

Please donate, share this page widely and do what you can to help us to make sure our theatre survive this crisis.

#SaveOurTheatres - Morecambe Winter Gardens 

Become a fundraiser

Want to raise funds for this cause? It's simple to get started.

Start fundraising


This project offered rewards

£50 or more

A Tour for Two with Professor Vanessa

A guided tour for two people around the Winter Gardens by the Chair of the Preservation Trust Professor Vanessa Toulmin. Professor Toulmin is one the UK's leading experts on circus, variety, theatre and entertainment history and has published 14 books on the subject.

£10 or more

£10 Reward

A beautiful set of 6 postcards of the Morecambe Winter Gardens taken by professional photographers only available in the Theatre or through this platform

£500 or more

A night in the Theatre

For £500 a group of up to ten people can spend the night in the theatre from 10pm to 6am under the watchful eyes of our Ghost Tour Volunteers. Snacks and hot drinks will be distributed all night, tales of ghostly imaginings will be regaled and described but sleeping is not an option.

£20 or more

£20 Reward

A set of 8 limited edition fridge magnets showing interior shots of the building, reproductions of archival posters and handbills and vintage images of Morecambe Bay

£50 or more

Afternoon Tea in the Royal Boxes

Afternoon Tea for Two in the magnificent surroundings of our Royal Boxes brought to you by the Friends of the Morecambe Winter Gardens. A selection of hand cut sandwiches, home made cakes and scones with jam and cream will add the regal touch to a special afternoon's treat.

Payment and personal details are protected