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Preserving the Neolithic Calder Stones for future generations

Written by Emma Walsh, 31st July 2018

Everything you need to know about the history, and future, of the Neolithic Calder Stones which give their name to the park.

What are the Calder Stones?

The Calder Stones are six megaliths of various sizes decorated with prehistoric rock art. At 5000+ years old, they’re a scheduled ancient monument and around the same age as Stonehenge!

Where did they come from?

The Stones were originally part of a megalithic tomb dating back to the late Neolithic or early Bronze Age (c. 2800 – 2000BC). They were brought here in 1845 by the then owner of the Mansion House, Joseph Need Walker, who arranged them as a ‘stone circle’.

How long have they been in this glasshouse?

In 1954, the Stones were moved from near their original location on the Menlove Avenue edge of the park to a depot where they underwent cleaning before being placed in this glasshouse – known as Harthill Vestibule and the entrance way to the Liverpool Botanical Collection – in 1964.

Since then, and following the demolition of the Botanical Collection greenhouses during the 1980s, they’ve remained locked away here where rapid changes in temperature and humidity have sadly accelerated their deterioration.

What’s happening to them now?

Moving the Stones now is vital for their long-term survival and so later this summer, they will be carefully removed and taken to London for much-needed conservation work. They’ll return to the park when the building work on the Mansion House is complete in Spring 2019.

They’ll be re-displayed in all their glory in a secure Heritage Centre at the rear of the Mansion House. This will put them right back where they belong – at the heart of the park in a space that’s in keeping with their archaeological significance and more accessible to the general public.

Who’s involved in this project?

National charity, The Reader, in partnership with Liverpool City Council and supported by Heritage Lottery Fund, is lovingly overseeing this project. The work has been in the planning since 2012 and is being done with the full permission and oversight of Historic England, and with Scheduled Ancient Monument Consent.

Conservation specialists, Orbis Conservation, whose clients include Imperial War Museum and English Heritage, are managing the conservation and re-display of these magnificent objects so rest assured that the Stones are in safe hands.

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