A purpose-built entertainment facility, Kelvingrove Bandstand & Amphitheatre was built by the Glasgow Corporation Parks Department in 1924. It is Category B listed and situated within Kelvingrove Park, a designed landscape of national importance which was laid out around part of the river Kelvin from 1852, with design contributions from Charles Wilson and Sir Joseph Paxton.
The building is the only original bandstand left in Glasgow and one of only three with associated amphitheatres in Scotland. The Bandstand is of theatre-type design with the Amphitheatre’s terracing cleverly using the natural gradient of the land to provide seating for up to 3,000 people and 7,000 standing in its heyday.
The building closed in 1999 and has since fallen into serious disrepair, suffering from repeated acts of vandalism, with its condition described as ‘critical’ on the Buildings at Risk Register.
There have been a number of proposals over the years to find a sustainable future for this iconic venue but it wasn’t until 2012 that an agreed delivery plan, development funding and a partnership between GBPT, Glasgow City Council (building’s owner) and Glasgow Life (end user) enabled the project to proceed. A Design Team was appointed in November 2012 and the project has been moving at pace since then with the target of the Commonwealth Games 2014 for completion.
The existing fabric and features of the original structure will be conserved and repaired and sensitive interventions will make it safe and accessible for modern day performers and audiences. Two modest, contemporary extensions to the rear of the Bandstand will enable the introduction of a platform lift and enhanced facilities. Adaptations to the Amphitheatre include the introduction of a new cross aisle, two new gangways and improvements to the upper terracing to provide permanent concrete seating. A new ramped area at the top of the Amphitheatre will significantly improve accessibility. The pay boxes on Kelvin Way are a later addition and their roofs will be rebuilt to their original profile and the brick work will be rendered.
Cost Consultant: nbm
Structural Engineer: SKM
Services Engineer: Harley Haddow
CDM Co-ordinator: CDM Scotland
Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Life, Local Community
CCG (Scotland) Ltd
Works Cost – £1.6m
Total Project Cost – £2m
The Architectural Heritage Fund, Glasgow City Council (including Landfill Communities Fund), Glasgow City Heritage Trust, Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Scotland, Hugh Fraser Foundation, Sylvia Waddilove Foundation, William Grant & Sons and contributions raised by Glasgow Life.
The contractor continues to make good progress on site with works to the Amphitheatre largely complete, with new concrete benches to the upper terraces, cross aisle, gangways and control positions at the mid point and top of the Amphitheatre constructed. The cast-in lights to the end of the concrete benches are underway and the laying of resin bound gravel between the terraces is scheduled for March as it is weather dependent.
Extensive roofing repairs and retiling have been carried out, using salvaged existing tiles on the principle west pitch and new rosemary tiles to match the original on the other roof pitches and on the new extensions. It is thought the original dome was in lead or copper but due to the risk of theft, Historic Scotland agreed to the use of zinc on the dome, ventilator and roof canopy. The finial has been repaired and repainted in its original colour of green.
The original decorative iron cresting to the stage canopy had been lost many years ago but a pattern maker is currently hand carving a wooden mould of the Glasgow Coat of Arms before it is cast, painted and reinstated. Four large speaker horns (of a later unknown date) have been retained and cleverly adapted as lights for the Bandstand roof.
The stage riser has been rebuilt and its new glazed brick finish is underway. Work is also advancing to the two rear extensions of the Bandstand with curtain wall framing, blockwork and roofs complete. These extensions will provide additional facilities including dressing rooms, shower rooms, green room, WCs, stores and platform lift.
The existing pay boxes on Kelvin Way replaced the original booths on the site but were rebuilt using modern brick of poor appearance. Therefore, it has been decided to render them to reflect the Bandstand itself. In addition, new zinc clad ogee style roofs have been rebuilt to their original design and finials will be installed shortly.
In order to improve accessibility at the top of the Amphitheatre, new ramped access has been created.
For further details on current activities and events, please visit: Kelvingrove Bandstand Facebook Page.
For further information on the Heritage of the Bandstand and the redevelopment project, please visit the Project Website.
Glasgow Life operate the Kelvingrove Bandstand and Amphitheatre, their website can be found here: Glasgow Life Kelvingrove Bandstand website.
As part of GBPT and Glasgow Life’s heritage project to celebrate the redevelopment of Kelvingrove Bandstand and Amphitheatre we commissioned Hopscotch Films to make this short documentary film about the history of this very special venue. Thank-you to all the people who contributed their time, goodwill and original footage to make this film possible.