The Reader at Calderstones
Until the House is built
And then the Props withdraw
And adequate, erect,
The House supports itself…
The Props Assist the House, Emily Dickinson
In 2014, The Reader signed a 125 year lease with Liverpool City Council with a view to developing the International Centre for Shared Reading in the historic Mansion House and establishing our Reader HQ and social enterprises in the old Coach House and Courtyard buildings.
Since then we have completed the first of an ambitious three phase development, opening The Reader Ice Cream Parlour (2015) and our interactive children’s story centre The Storybarn (2016) in the Courtyard. We have also secured nearly £4 million investment from Heritage Lottery Fund and other trusts and funds to implement phase two, the redevelopment and transformation of the historic Mansion House and the restoration of the Neolithic standing stones from which the park takes it’s name.
The International Centre for Shared Reading
The building will become a hub of Shared Reading and well-being activity in the beautiful, peaceful environment of Calderstones Park – a destination which will welcome visitors for the local community, the wider city of Liverpool, the UK and beyond.
With new businesses, an expanded café and the restoration of the Neolithic Calder Stones from which the park takes it’s name, The Reader are building a community which will provide opportunities for people to reach their full potential through employment, volunteering and training opportunities.
We have already welcomed thousands of visitors of all ages to Calderstones to enjoy regular Shared Reading groups, exhibitions, heritage tours, outdoor theatre productions and many special events such as our first Children’s Literature Festival.
The Mansion House has now closed its doors temporarily to allow the refurb to get under way but there’s still plenty going on at Calderstones.
Weekly Shared Reading groups will continue in the Gallery space and Coach House, and our thriving social enterprises, The Gallery, Café and Ice Cream Parlour, will remain open for business throughout the redevelopment. The Storybarn will also continue to welcome children to explore, share and discover a love of books and storytelling.
What’s on at Calderstones
As part of our plans at Calderstones, The Reader’s Social Enterprises will generate income to support our work and provide opportunities for people to reach their full potential through employment, volunteering and training.
The Storybarn is an interactive story-centre for young people to explore, share and discover their love of books. A thrilling world of imagination where children can embark on a literary adventure, The Storybarn features live-reading from our story-sharers, crafts and a giant slide!
The Storybarn is also available for educational away-days for schools, connecting with key National Curriculum links, flexible visiting times and visits tailored to incorporate a choice of texts.
For more information or to book tickets for The Storybarn, please visit the website.
The Reader Cafe
Offering breakfast, lunch, sandwiches and snacks, salads, soups and desserts The Reader Cafe is open Monday – Sunday, 8.30am – 4pm.
Whether you’re sitting down for lunch, grabbing a bite to eat to take away or need a hot drink and something sweet to accompany your walk around the park, you’ll find something to suit your tastes with daily homemade specials and vegan and vegetarian dishes available.
You’ll also find a selection of pre-loved books lining the shelves of the Cafe, all of which are priced at £1. You can also purchase our A Little, Aloud anthologies and poetry collections. All proceeds go to funding our Shared Reading work across the UK.
Occasionally, The Reader Cafe may close it’s doors a little early if the weather it particularly bad and even the most devout dog walkers are avoiding the rain but you can always call ahead to check we’re still open: 0151 729 2236.
The Reader Ice Cream Parlour
Situated next to The Storybarn, The Reader Ice Cream Parlour is open all year round, selling the best selection of ice cream flavours supplied by Cheshire Farm Ice Cream alongside a selection of hot drinks and refreshments.
If you venture upstairs you’ll also find our children’s bookshelves up among the eaves. All pre-loved books are priced at £1 with all proceeds going toward funding our Shared Reading work across the UK.
Open Monday – Sunday, 10am – 6pm, please be aware that The Ice Cream Parlour may also close a little early if it’s raining cats and dogs – as you can imagine, ice cream isn’t that popular amid torrential rains.
You can always check ahead by calling the Parlour on 0151 729 2232.
The Reader Gallery
Welcoming artists and exhibitions from the local area and beyond, The Reader Gallery is open Monday – Sunday, 10am – 5pm.
The gallery space is available for hire, to enquire about making a booking please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0151 729 2202.
Knit and Natter
Continuing to grow in popularity, the Knit and Natter group meet at The Reader Ice Cream Parlour on Tuesdays, 10.30am – 12noon. Everyone is welcome to join this creative and friendly group, from beginners to knitting supremos, so feel free to come along for a knit, a natter and a poem to finish up.
Our Plans for the Future
Here at The Reader we have big plans for our future at Calderstones, with The International Centre for Shared Reading at the heart. Reading and great literature are at the heart of everything we do from our Poem to Take Home in the Cafe to the shelves of pre-loved books on sale across the site, and in the future we plan to open a Reader Bookshop here in Calderstones.
We will also create community event spaces, breathe new life into the Mansion’s original outdoor theatre, and showcase the rich history and heritage of the House, the Stones, the park and the wider community.