Work begins on city''s £74 million Riverside Museum

12 Nov 2007

Substantive work on Britain's biggest museum project has got under way, after the Lord Provost of Glasgow, Bob Winter, cut the first turf at the £74 million Riverside Museum site.

The ground breaking ceremony marked the substantive phase of building work which will see the iconic building, designed by internationally renowned architect, Zaha Hadid, begin to take shape on the banks of the Clyde.

The Lord Provost said: "Just days after we won the right to host the Commonwealth Games in 2014, we're cutting the turf on what is Britain's biggest and most exciting museum project.

"Our ambition for Glasgow knows no bounds and our new museum will be a global icon and the shining beacon at the heart of the outstanding regeneration of the Clyde.

"There is real belief and confidence in Glasgow and I'm delighted to mark the day where we see the birth of what promises to be another landmark we can all be proud of."

Funding from the museum comes from Glasgow City Council, with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Glasgow Harbour. The Riverside Museum Appeal, led by Sir Robert Smith, has recently embarked on a public appeal which hopes to raise £5 million toward the cost.

The Heritage Lottery Fund awarded £18.15 million, one of the biggest ever grants in Scotland. Dr Sheena Wurthmann, a member of the HLF's Committee for Scotland, said: "Today we have witnessed an exciting milestone in the redevelopment of Glasgow's riverside.

"This project will not only allow the Museum of Transport to engage people in their past in a more interesting and dynamic way, but it will be a stunning tourist attraction, bringing life back to this area of the city. The Heritage Lottery Fund is delighted to be behind the Riverside Museum as a beacon of contemporary heritage for Glasgow and Scotland."

The museum's architect, Zaha Hadid, said: "I am delighted that construction on the Museum is starting. It's a moment of excitement and expectation for all of us working on the project and for the city of Glasgow.

"I see the Museum of Transport as a place for people of all ages, reflecting the importance of Glasgow's significant contribution to worldwide commerce and communication, whilst feeding the cultural vitality of the city and inspiring new generations to innovation. Since 2004 we have been working with Glasgow City Council to achieve the goal of a new museum and this is a key milestone towards completing the vision.

"I look forward to early 2011 when the vision will be complete and the museum will open to the people of Glasgow and Scotland."

Euan Jamieson, the Managing Director of Glasgow Harbour, said: "We are delighted that work has begun to create a contemporary new home for one of the UK's most popular museums.

"The new Riverside Museum is an integral part of the £1.2bn Glasgow Harbour development and is being built on a site which has been donated by Glasgow Harbour to Glasgow City Council.  This iconic building will create a unique tourist destination on the regenerated banks of the Clyde, attracting more than one million visitors a year to the city.

"Glasgow Harbour will continue to invest in the area, building on the £25 million worth of infrastructure works which will unlock the site for future inward investment and we will continue to work in partnership with Glasgow City Council to realise our shared vision for a world-class waterfront for Glasgow."

Ken McAlpine, the Regional Director of HBG Construction Ltd, the main contractor on the project, said: "HBG is delighted to follow up our previously successful partnerships with the City Council at both the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum and City Halls by joining with them to deliver the new Museum of Transport on Clydeside and add to the long list of major attractions to the city."

The new museum will also provide a new home for the Glenlee Tall Ship, which will be moored alongside on the Clyde.

The radical design of the building will house around 3,000 objects, ranging from locomotives to Glasgow trams and exact replicas of streets from various stages in the city's history. When open in early 2011, it will cover almost the same floorspace as the nearby Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum.

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