The Bandstand was originally a circular cast and wrought iron construction by the famous Saracen Foundry of Walter Macfarlane & Co. Installed in another location within Queen’s Park during the 1890s; by 1912 it had been moved to the present site becoming a focus for concerts, public meetings, political rallies and many other events.
In 1920 the bandstand was moved to Duchess Park in Motherwell and the Queen’s Park site was vacant for around 10 years.
The New Bandstand was constructed in 1930; a rendered brick building with a south facing stage. Into the natural amphitheatre formed by Camp Hill, wide terraces were carved to accommodate folding chairs some of which still survive.The broad front tiers were wide enough to have tables set out lending a relaxed and rather genteel atmosphere.
In 1996 the bandstand was razed to the ground by fire. It has not been replaced and the terracing has fallen into advanced dilapidation.
There are really two projects going on here. The Scottish Government’s and ours.
From our point of view this project is about taking a dilapidated area of our park and creating something fantastic that the whole community can use and enjoy again – just as in the days of the bandstand.
Many local residents and users of the park can remember the buzz of excitement generated when there was a concert or an event at the bandstand and how the whole area turned out to take part. Well, we want to make it like that again; a vibrant, lively space that becomes the heart of the park.
From the Scottish Government’s perspective this is a pilot project designed to see whether community councils can work together to shape, lead and deliver community projects of real value. It is one of only two in Scotland and is supported with £15,000 pump-priming funding in 2009-10.
The brief from the Scottish Government was to “identify a project of value to the community” and we’ve certainly done that. But, we’ve gone much further. Not only have we identified the project we’ve taken steps to deliver it too. And, we’ve engaged with the community and potential partners to ensure that we’re delivering what the community wants.
With fantastic levels of support from Glasgow City Council we’ve already started to visualise how the space could look. We’ve also considered the shape of the community business that will be required to deliver the programming which will make the space a viable and sustainable part of the local fabric. A company, limited by guarantee, has been formed with provision for a community based management structure. We are now registered as a charity.
In parallel with the focus on defining the shape of the project we’ve been getting down to site work too. Again with the support of the City Council a ground survey has been undertaken after a desktop research exercise suggested that there may be mine workings beneath the area. Because of the nature of the record keeping around old mine workings (some of which go back 150 years or more) the only sure way to know if the ground can support audiences and the construction of a new amphitheatre is to drill holes. From these test bores it will be established whether or not the old workings exist, and if they do, the nature of any voids. Once we have that knowledge we will be in a position to make key decisions.
At one of our early meetings with potential partners and stakeholders a member of the audience suggested that we launch a design competition to attract the widest sweep of inspiration possible. We worked in partnership with Glasgow Institute of Architects to run a design competition based on the design brief. The design competition took place in April-May 2010. Ten shortlisted designs were exhibited during the 2010 South Side Festival and pubic views – nearly 500 of them – were passed on to the judging panel. ZM Architecture, Glasgow, were the overall winners and have been appointed the project architects.
As many local residents will know there are also drainage issues at this side of the park and we’ve agreed to survey the existing drains. Glasgow City Council’s Land and Environmental Services department (which has responsibility for the park) has undertaken to perform remediation work.
Next steps include the formulation of a business plan based on the design and construction costs together with the future programming arrangements and potential income streams. Armed with these we will be in a position to begin making funding applications for the approximately £600,000 we estimate (at this stage) the project will cost.
Once restored the space must be sustainable so an ongoing programme of events can be arranged with promotion, fund raising and so on. With the future in mind the Steering Group applied in autumn 2010 to develop the Community Council-based, informal project steering group into a sustainable organisation with clear public benefit objectives and a constitution. It is now a company limited by guarantee and a registered charity. It is also registered as an environmental body with ENTRUST. Queen’s Park Arena Ltd enables community, arts and educational bodies to become members of the company and have a stake in its operation and the opportunity to participate in its direction.
The delivery of the project will take place in two stages:
1. Projected timescale – May to November 2011
Ground works, drainage provision, terrace restoration and provision of new re-landscaped terracing for 200, re-surfacing of arena. The space will then be safe and usable for events.
2. Projected timescale 2012-13
Construction of flexible stage/screen, canopy with built in lighting, electrical services, further seating, conversion of existing storage building as changing room with WC (disabled access).
- Fund raising.
- Welcome applications from local community, educational and arts organisations to become members of the company.
- Looking to appoint up to 5 new Directors of the company (there are currently 8).
- Seeking to recruit new steering group members with skills in event management, finance, business planning, marketing, administration.
Background: The Design Competition and Public Survey
You can view all of the entries, as well as the design brief, at the design competition site.
Download the full questionnaire analysis summary report