Housewarming Weekend to mark Mansion House re-opening
- 14-15 September open house at Calderstones Park
- Neolithic Calder Stones restoration and new exhibition space to be revealed
- World’s first International Centre for Shared Reading
Calderstones Mansion House, home of The Reader, is to reopen, with a weekend of free celebrations at Calderstones Park, marking the completion of a £5m refurbishment of the Grade II building that has taken three years.
The ‘Housewarming Weekend’, taking place on 14-15 September, will include a ‘Round the Clock Dickens’ reading of A Tale of Two Cities, with guest readers, volunteers and staff taking turns in reading the classic in two days; tours of the newly refurbished Mansion House and grounds telling its story and history, a literary origami art installation to be made by the public, a chance to see the newly restored Calder Stones in a purpose-built exhibition space; Shared Reading for young and old; music, family storytelling sessions and more.
Calderstones Park has been the organisational home of The Reader since 2011. In 2013, the charity signed a 125 year lease to become custodians of the Mansion House. The refurbishment project is the next chapter in a story that has seen the charity convert a number of unoccupied buildings at Calderstones into warm and welcoming community spaces, including The Reader Café and Ice Cream Parlour, and the imaginative children’s story centre, the Storybarn.
Re-opening the Mansion House supports The Reader’s mission to give everyone a chance to experience literature’s life-supporting benefits. Thanks to support from Heritage Lottery Fund, Liverpool City Council and others, the building will be open to all and free to enter.
There will be a vibrant and growing programme of reading aloud, weekly groups and activities, yoga and special events on offer. There will also be a new café, a shop, event spaces, reading rooms, a wellbeing studio, heritage exhibition and commercial offices for hire, and job and volunteering opportunities for the local community.
The Mansion House will be home to the International Centre for Shared Reading which will welcome visitors from around the world who want to learn about Shared Reading – the group reading experience developed by The Reader’s founder, Jane Davis – that is fast becoming a worldwide movement.
The Calder Stones, six megaliths from the Neolithic period, which were carefully removed from their previous home in the glasshouse known as the Harthill Vestibule, have been reinstated at the heart of the park. Visitors can now get up close to the Stones in a specially designed gallery and viewing space at the rear of the Mansion. Visitors will learnabout their history and archaeological significance in a new exhibition area.
Jane Davis, said: “After three years, we’re thrilled to finally be throwing open the doors to the Mansion House and inviting everyone in to celebrate.
“When I was a pupil at what is now Calderstones School all those years ago, I used to walk through the park and past the Mansion almost every day. It was in quite a sorry state at the time so I’m absolutely thrilled to see it brought back to life today. It’s still not completely finished – there are still lots of things we need to fill it and lots of work for us to do over the years ahead – but I can’t wait to welcome everyone in. Let’s make this Mansion House a home!”