The Reader at Calderstones

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 preservation of the Neolithic standing stones from which the park takes it’s name. 

In 2017 the Mansion House doors closed to allow much-need repairs to be completed, while conservation work on the internationally important Calder Stones will begin in 2018.

The design team appointed to complete the works include Liverpool-based architects Austin-Smith:Lord who have previously worked on projects at The Bluecoat and Kew Gardens; Todd & Ledson, project management and cost consultants, whose heritage experience includes the transformation of Liverpool’s Grade II-listed Royal Insurance Building; engineers Charles Andrews who have previously worked on Manchester’s Exchange Quay and structural engineers and award-winning built environment specialist Curtins Consultancy. Interpretation Specialists Leach Studios have also been appointed to consult on the future heritage experience 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

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.

Read more about the story so far at Calderstones.

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 at the 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.

You can keep up to date with how the redevelopment is progressing and all the goings on at Calderstones through our blog, Twitter and Facebook.

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What’s on at Calderstones

Find out more about our children’s story centre, Social Enterprises and the community activity based at Calderstones:

The Storybarn

The Reader Cafe

The Reader Ice Cream Parlour

Knit and Natter

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.

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