The Reader will begin work on creating their flagship International Centre for Reading inside Calderstones Mansion House in 2016, having secured a confirmed grant of £1.99million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
Building on work that has already taken place on the site since 2013, the Reader at Calderstones project will restore and showcase the heritage of the Grade II listed Mansion House and the Neolithic monoliths known as The Calderstones. These forgotten treasures are older than the Pyramids and will now be brought back into the heart of Calderstones Park and their condition will be significantly improved. Liverpool City Council, National Museums Liverpool and Manchester University have all been consulted as part of the process.
Initial work will begin to secure the building which over the years has fallen into a state of disrepair. Currently hidden architecturally significant elements will be carefully revealed and restored, bringing the building back to life.
The finished building will house a heritage room which will show how one of the rooms may have looked in 1880 with visitors having the opportunity to interact with objects and learn about the history of the house at that time. There will also be four key reading rooms allowing The Reader to continue their shared reading groups, bringing people together to read great literature out loud as a practical way of improving wellbeing, building stronger communities and extending reading pleasure. A newly created bistro will also allow visitors to relax after their visit and soak up and reflect on the atmosphere of the house.
Dr Jane Davis, Director of The Reader says “We’re delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has given us this support. It will allow us to grasp this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create something truly special at Calderstones for the city of Liverpool and beyond. Not only will this mean we can offer more of our reading groups and continue to grow our wellbeing initiatives here but we can carefully bring The Calderstones themselves back to their rightful place at the heart of the park to be enjoyed and cherished by visitors”
Sara Hilton, Head of HLF North West, said: “The Reader is a real Liverpool success story that helps thousands of people get together to share their love of reading. We were hugely impressed by these proposals that will bring an exciting new use to the 19th century Mansion House and help many more people discover the history of the 4000 year old Calderstones. Special thanks must go to National Lottery players for making our investment possible.”