Sneak preview inside Kelvin Hall

Do you remember going to Kelvin Hall for the shows? Or when the Transport Museum was there? Or maybe even playing badminton or basketball there? Built in 1927 it started to show its age by the time it closed but luckily it wasn’t sold for private use but kept for an ambitious redevelopment.

On Friday I was lucky enough to get a space on a photography trip to see inside Kelvin Hall during its construction as part of a project by Scottish Museums Wikimedian in Residence, Sara Thomas. We also went to Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum and Riverside Museum butg more about them in my next post. The aim of the day was to create more copyright free media about various museums in Glasgow that anyone can use.

Wikimedia Commons is a media file repository making available public domain and freely-licensed educational media content (images, sound and video clips) to everyone, in their own language. It acts as a common repository for the various projects of the Wikimedia Foundation, but you do not need to belong to one of those projects to use media hosted here. The repository is created and maintained not by paid archivists, but by volunteers. The scope of Commons is set out on the project scope pages.

The redevelopment is being completed in stages and we looked at stage one which will not only house public exhibition areas, a Glasgow Club gym and dance studio but space for Scottish Screen, The Hunterian, National Library of Scotland and Glasgow Museums.

Remember the stairs to the side of the building? Well this is what they currently look like. They will create an indoor street with exhibition space & I know they are in touch with the show(*) community to get old images from carnivals past. Yes, those trick mirrors will be back and at the end of the avanue thery are constructing a huge screen for archive footage to be displayed on it.

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Some parts still look like they could be part of a horror movie but I was pleased to see they are keeping as many original features in the building as possible. Windows have been taken out, repaired and replaced while brickwork / supporting beams have been supported during the reconstitution and will be very carefully released at the end.

I should also say that most of the stairs have been created by hand. Due to the nature of the building they couldn’t bring in pre-made staircases. Each one took about a fortnight to create and of course they still have to be finished and made suitable for the public.

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The new top floor, which didn’t previously exist, is going to be stunning. It has a glass roof and will house offices for either Scottish Screen or National Library of Scotland, storage rooms for The Hunterian and a huge public dance studio.

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Sadly we’re going to have to wait until autumn 2016 to see the finished building but already it is looking amazing. I’ll put more photos on my Flickr stream so you can get a better idea of how it looks.

You can find out more info here

(*) “shows” is a local term for fun fairs and carnivals. There is a strong tradition in Scotland of the shows being run by the travelling community.

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