Glasgow City Council

Burrell Collection refurbishment backed by £15m National Lottery award

Published: 2 October 2016

Burrell Collection image 1

The refurbishment and redisplay of the Burrell Collection has received a £15million award from The National Lottery.

The funding marks a key milestone for the Burrell Collection which will see the museum and its Collection - regarded as one of the greatest, single personal collections in the world, undergo a refurbishment of the building and redisplay of almost 9,000 objects. By optimising spaces and visitor circulation throughout the museum, the innovative scheme will open up all three floors of the building whilst protecting and enhancing the 1983 Grade A listed building's architectural integrity.

With support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) thanks to National Lottery players, flexible displays for the rotation of artworks and new spaces for temporary exhibitions will allow much more of the collection to be displayed, giving visitors real insight into the breadth and depth of Sir William's great gift. The entire Collection will be accessible digitally, collection stores will open to the public for the first time, and a new dedicated space for special exhibitions will be created. By capitalising on the Burrell's unique park setting, landscaped terraces will also connect the museum to the stunning surroundings of Pollok Country Park.

The refurbishment will also repair the fabric of the building, improving its sustainability, transforming it from a building with a large carbon footprint into an energy-efficient, modern museum.

The Burrell Collection is an example of the city's far-sighted cultural and tourism offer. The cost of the project is estimated at £66 million with Glasgow City Council agreeing to fund up to 50 per cent of the overall project cost.  With secured and pledged income from over 100 different supporters, the Burrell Renaissance has raised over 80% of the project costs to date.

Chair of Glasgow Life, Councillor David McDonald, said, "I would like to thank the Heritage Lottery Fund for its endorsement of the Burrell Collection's ambitious refurbishment and redisplay.

"The Heritage Lottery Fund has supported the development of Glasgow Museums for almost two decades and its significant investment has played a vital role in the success and growth of the city's cultural offer. With HLF's support and commitment, the Burrell Collection is once again a catalyst for change, driving regeneration of the historic and cultural heritage of Pollok Country Park, greatly enhancing the wider cultural offer Southside of Glasgow and playing an important role in the city's growing tourism offer by contributing to the economic impact tourism brings to the city."

Seona Reid, Deputy Chair of HLF and Chair of the Scotland Committee, said, "The Burrell Collection was one of the greatest gifts ever given to a city and the seed that helped Glasgow grow into the thriving cultural centre it is today. It is timely then that in a year when we are celebrating Scotland's History, Heritage and Archaeology, we are able to support such an important collection. Thanks to National Lottery players, it will be transformed so that it can continue to be a place of joy and inspiration for local, national and international visitors for many years to come."

Sir Angus Grossart, Chair of Burrell Renaissance, said, "The Heritage Lottery Fund's decision to support the renaissance of the Burrell Collection is a wonderful endorsement of our plans to liberate the great potential of Sir William's gift. We need to provide a home worthy for this generation, of this incredible collection and its influence. We would like to thank the Heritage Lottery Fund for their support which will enable us to present Sir William's collection within the international context and aspirations which were his guide."

John McAslan, Executive Chairman of John McAslan + Partners, said, "We are delighted with today's announcement which supports plans to breathe new life into the Burrell Collection so that it can continue to inspire local, national and international visitors for many years to come."

James Alexander, Chief Executive of Event Communications, said, "We are absolutely delighted about the news from the HLF and most grateful for their ongoing support in securing a sustainable future for this unique and special building together with its wonderful collection. The award is a resounding endorsement of the project that will enable us to create an accessible and enhanced visitor experience with appeal across all audiences."

The Burrell Collection is a major cultural asset for the City of Glasgow and the nation, and is of international significance. The museum and its collection which numbers almost 9,000 items, is managed by Glasgow Life on behalf of Glasgow City Council. It has a rich and varied scope, ranging from ancient prehistoric artefacts to ground-breaking works by Impressionists such as Manet and Degas. Its particular strengths lie in late medieval art, Chinese ceramics, bronzes and jades, Islamic pile carpets and French nineteenth-century paintings.

The Collection, which reflects Sir William Burrell's lifelong passion for art and history, was donated to the City of Glasgow by Sir William and Lady Burrell. The decision to give the Collection to Sir William's home city in 1944 has been described as one of the greatest gifts a city has ever received.

The Burrell Collection closed to the public in October 2016, allowing work to commence on the refurbishment of the Grade A category building and redisplay of the collections, creating a new visitor experience. At present, only some 20 per cent of the exceptional collection is on display.

Refurbishment plans will turn the building into an energy efficient, modern museum. In addition, a much greater proportion of the 9,000-strong collection will be accessible with stores visible to the public for the first time. 

Throughout the Burrell's refurbishment an exhibition of works from the Burrell will be on display at Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum, Glasgow, allowing citizens and visitors alike to enjoy some of Burrell's treasures. An international tour will also showcase treasures from the Collection, raising the Collection's profile worldwide and promoting Glasgow as one of the world's great cultural cities.

The Heritage Lottery Fund's award of £15million includes a grant of £1million awarded to the Burrell Collection for the development stage of the project in May 2015.

Thanks to National Lottery players, the Heritage Lottery Fund invests money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about - from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. 

Published: 2 October 2016

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