The Friends of The Winter Gardens
Charity no: 1064127
The Friends of the Winter Gardens was formed in 1986 by a group of local residents, who shared the same feelings and concerns for the building. At the start, our prime role was to keep up pressure to save the theatre from demolition. During this time, we went into the Pavilion enthusiastically with mops and buckets to clean up this ‘once beautiful building’ and, to give back some of its lost sparkle, we cleaned away years of dirt and rubbish.
This enabled the ‘Friends’ to open up the Winter Gardens to the public at weekends, to show what lay behind the doors which had been closed since 1977. Support from the public began to flood in at this time, with more people wishing to join us; we held meetings and began fund-raising events. The result being, many improvements were made to help stop the decay of the building.
In May 1995, the Winter Gardens was acquired by the Buildings at Risk Trust and, thanks to the Lancaster City Council, English Heritage, and a single regeneration grant, financial funding was in place for the 1st phase of restoration which began the following year.
In February 2006, The Friends formed a charitable trust, The Morecambe Winter Gardens Preservation Trust Limited, as an appropriate vehicle to purchase the theatre.
Today, the work of The Friends ensures that the theatre is maintained and accessible to the public. We regularly open the theatre to visitors and provide guided tours or answer questions about the building, its history and the restoration project. We operate a refreshment bar in the theatre, which also sells a variety of gifts and souvenirs and contains a small display of memorabilia. We undertake fund-raising activities which include providing charity collection boxes to local businesses, regular tombolas and special events.
If you are interested in joining The Friends or helping with our fund-raising then please download and complete a Membership Form.