It’s a week of wonderful news here at Calderstones as we can announce that we have secured a confirmed grant of £1.99million from Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to create a flagship International Centre for Reading at the Mansion.
We’ve been supported by initial first-round development funding from HLF since 2014, allowing us to make important steps towards restoring and regenerating the Mansion as well as showcasing its many years worth of history. Since then we’ve been busy putting on a range of events, talks and workshops that explore the heritage of Calderstones as part of the Connect at Calderstones project, including our popular weekly Mansion House Tours, Vintage Tea Dances, inclusion in the nationwide Heritage Open Days and a number of special talks about The Calderstones – Liverpool’s oldest human monuments from the Neolithic era. Earlier in the year we carried out the Caldies Big Dig in association with the Museum of Liverpool, the first project of its kind to investigate the long and varied past of Calderstones Park, and the finds can now be seen on display within the Museum.
It’s been really amazing to engage so many parts of the local community with the history of Calderstones over the past months, and we’re incredibly pleased that this latest investment will enable us to build on the work that has already taken place. The Calderstones will be one of the focal points of the regeneration, with plans to rehouse them in the heart of Calderstones Park, where their conditions will be significantly improved for present and future generations to enjoy. Liverpool City Council, National Museums Liverpool and Manchester University have all been consulted as part of the process.
The historical focus will continue as we’ll be creating a special heritage room within the Mansion, showing how one of the many rooms might have looked in its heyday during the 19th century. Visitors will get the opportunity to interact with objects and learn about the history of the house at that time. As well as these key historical features, there will be four reading rooms allowing us to continue our shared reading groups which bring people together to read great literature out loud as a practical way of improving wellbeing, build stronger communities and extend 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.
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.”
Initial work will begin in 2016 to secure the building which has fallen into disrepair over the years. Currently hidden architecturally significant elements will be carefully revealed and restored, bringing the Mansion back to life.
We’re really excited to be at the centre of the next stage in the Mansion’s already vibrant history. Make sure you keep logged on for many more updates here as we head into 2016 and begin the regeneration!