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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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.

Project Update: December 2018

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.

Project Vision

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.