“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 2013, Calderstones Mansion House became the new home and national headquarters of The Reader.

Situated in the beautiful surroundings of Calderstones Park in Liverpool, the building has a rich history and now thanks to a £5million refurbishment with support from Heritage Lottery Fund, Liverpool City Council and others, it will also have a vibrant future as The International Centre for Shared Reading – a hub of reading and well-being activity, and a destination which will welcome visitors from the local community, the wider Liverpool city region, the UK and beyond.

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.

In Spring 2019 we will bring the building back to life and open the doors to the new International Centre for Shared Reading in Calderstones Park. The hard work to to bring the building back to it’s former glory is now underway with John Turner Construction Group on site, but The Reader have been building the foundations of a community hub here since 2013.

We’re creating a welcoming place where visitors from near and far can come together to discover Shared Reading, explore local history, enjoy a bite to eat or an ice cream, to be creative, meet new people, relax and discover new opportunities for people to reach their full potential through employment, volunteering and training.

Having signed a 125-year lease for the site, Calderstones is central to The Reader’s national movement to create a Reading Revolution. Joining the already-established Storybarn and Ice Cream Parlour, The International Centre for Shared Reading will include new reading rooms, heritage activities, space for a variety of workshops, exhibitions and community groups, a shop and cafe; as well as hosting cultural events, special occasions and performances on the distinctive art deco style outdoor theatre, which will be brought back to it’s original splendour.

We’ll also be bringing the Neolithic Calder Stones, from which the park take’s it’s name, back to their former glory through specialist conservation carried out by Orbis Conservation Ltd, and rehousing the standing stones at the heart of the Mansion House’s heritage offer.

While the redevelopment project is completed, The Reader’s Shared Reading groups continue to run at the nearby Coach House where the Gallery is also open as usual. The Reader Café has also moved temporarily to the Courtyard where The Reader has already completed the first of an ambitious three phase development, opening The Reader Ice Cream Parlour (2015) and The Storybarn (2016), an interactive children’s story centre.

More about the redevelopment of Calderstones Mansion House:

As visitors to the park will have noticed, Phase Two is well underway at the Mansion House. 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.

What’s on at Calderstones

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. Or 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

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