Project Update and FAQs: June 2019


The Reader Mansion House is finally starting to look like a finished building and we can’t wait to offer a warm welcome to everyone who comes in to explore when the doors open later this Summer. Highlights from the last few months include:

  • The installation of a huge new sliding glass wall in the Garden Theatre, which will allow for use of the space as was originally intended when it was built in the 1940s, or as a large internal room.
  • The stonework steps and ramp, that will make the main entrance accessible and welcoming to visitors, have been laid.
  • The Reader Café seating area, on the South East side of the building is looking beautiful. When creating this area, we were excited to uncover the original cast iron fence posts that had been hidden from view.
  • The enclosure for the Calder Stones is now almost complete, with its living roof flourishing. This month the interactive elements of The Calderstones Story heritage attraction will be installed.
  • The first floor and basement are very nearly finished – lights are on, carpets are down.

If you’re interested in getting involved, we’re still looking for volunteers who want to help make the Mansion House a home – click here for details of the roles available.

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Knit and Natter raises £1,400 for The Reader – ahead of unveiling four special knitted gifts for the Mansion House

The Reader would like to say a huge thank you to the Calderstones Knit and Natter group, which has raised an incredible £1,400 for the charity.

The group often sees more than 50 people, whose ages span six decades, come along each Tuesday morning to knit, natter and share some great literature together, and occasionally embark on a community challenge.

After fundraising all last year for The Reader, which included selling handmade crafts created by members of the group, their fingers are now hard at work on four different projects commissioned for the Mansion House, re-opening later this summer.

Mary White, a volunteer Reader Leader and one of the Knit and Natter organisers, said: “Well done to everyone for working so hard to raise this money – a truly impressive amount. We are a very supportive group, everyone comes here with different levels of skill, ready to listen and help one another.

“Calderstones is such a beautiful setting and we love supporting The Reader
– a wonderful organisation that does so much good for the community.

Mary White and the Knit and Natter group presenting The Reader’s founder and director Jane Davis with a cheque for £1400

Mary read a poem to the group before presenting the cheque to The Reader’s founder Jane Davis. Edgar Albert Guest’s It Couldn’t Be Done was a fitting tribute to all of their efforts.

Somebody said that it couldn’t be done
But he with a chuckle replied
That “maybe it couldn’t,” but he would be one
Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.

“Thank you for being so generous with your time, efforts and donations, and for teaching me how to crochet,” Jane Davis. “Knit and Natter is a very important part of The Reader and I’ll make sure that we use this money to create something very special.

“I know you’re all itching to get back into the Mansion House
– and I promise it won’t be much longer. The whole team is excited to see what you’re creating for the public spaces inside the house.”


The Reader, the Liverpool-based charity that brings people together and books to life, is moving forward with its plans to make a difference to more lives in the region as it prepares to open the doors to the refurbished Grade II listed Mansion House in Liverpool’s Calderstones Park later this summer.

Along with the Storybarn, the Café and the Ice Cream Parlour, which are already up and running, the restored Mansion House will be part of The Reader at Calderstones, a warm and vibrant community where anyone can come to experience literature, find and share meaning, be nourished, develop new skills and explore creativity.

By creating new ways for everyone to enjoy and experience literature together as part of daily life, The Reader at Calderstones aims to offer everyone – and particularly those who need it most – meaningful opportunities to connect with someone, or something.

The Reader Mansion House will provide a range of meaningful activities and events for everyone which will be held together by a golden thread of literature. The number of weekly Shared Reading groups on site will double to 30 by the end of year, while new activities will include art for all, walks, Reader Retreats, yoga, a chance to help develop the mansion’s garden, and more.

Project Update: Spring 2019

Despite Storms Gareth and Freya doing their best to rip off new roof tiles, The Mansion House is standing strong, and these last months have seen massive progress:

  • the Calder Stones have returned, taking pride of place in the Garden
  • the community theatre roof work is finished
  • flagstones are being laid for the outdoor Café seating area
  • the new Park toilets in the basement are coming along well.

We’ve also had to deal with an unexpected car park closure and a burst water main, which closed the whole site, so thank you for your patience!

The return of the Calder Stones has been a highlight. Following the much-needed conservation work carried out by Orbis Conservation, the Stones are safe and sound in their new enclosure. Before their unveiling, they’ll be treated to one final clean.

We want to say a huge thank you to everyone who attended our recent volunteer information events, the energy and passion for the project was incredible. We must also say thanks to all of our hard hat tour visitors and everyone who shared their thoughts at our four community co-creation workshops. Your input has helped shape the exciting new programme that we’ll be launching when we open the doors this Summer. Full details of what you can expect will be available very soon, so watch this space.

Project Vision

Having signed a 125-year lease for the site, Calderstones is central to The Reader’s mission to bring people together and books to life. This Summer, following a £5M refurbishment, we will open the doors of The Reader Mansion House, a place where anyone can come to experience literature, find and share meaning, be nourished, develop new skills, explore creativity and, above all, feel valued as part of ‘something real’.

Joining the Storybarn and Ice Cream Parlour, The Reader Mansion House will include new reading rooms, heritage activities, space for workshops, exhibitions and community groups, a shop and Café. The refurbished Garden Theatre will be a licensed space where we can all enjoy engaging community events. It will also be available to hire for your own celebrations.