As we dash towards Christmas, George Hawkins, The Reader’s Calderstones Development and Heritage Manager, gives us one last project update for 2018:
Winter has well and truly arrived in time for the removal of the temporary roof tent from the building. We let out a collective sigh of relief after the first, absolutely torrential, rain when we discovered that the roof was delightfully watertight. A few little fixes to guttering connections, and The Reader Mansion House is watertight for the first time in decades.
In the last month we have also been able to sort out some of the issues that have recently arisen, including unusual sub-structures in several areas that needed re-laying and a sloping floor in the theatre room! Sloping generally isn’t top of most people’s list when they are looking for a big room for a conference, wedding, away day, theatre performance, or indeed anything else, so we are making sure it is good and level before the new sprung floor is installed. . . perfect for dancing feet.
The team are now removing the scaffold to the main area of the house, steadily revealing the render and paint repairs which have the place looking really rather fetching in the soft winter light. The single storey extension block to the rear has now had a scaffold added and repairs to this roof are proceeding well.
One of the last big pieces of work before the Christmas break is creating the substructure for the new home for the Calder Stones. The stones are still under the tender care of our friends at Orbis, our London-based conservation specialists. Orbis is continuing the work to conserve the Calder Stones and prepare them for their return in the new year.
In Spring 2019 we will open the doors of The Reader Mansion House following a £5m refurbishment.
Having signed a 125-year lease for the site, Calderstones is central to The Reader’s mission to bring about a reading revolution so that everyone can experience and enjoy great literature.
Joining the already-established Storybarn and Ice Cream Parlour, The Reader Mansion House will include new reading rooms, heritage activities, space for a variety of workshops, exhibitions and community groups, a shop and café. The refurbished Garden Theatre will be a licensed space where we can all enjoy a programme of exciting community events, including theatre performances. It will also be available for hire for catered events.