Scrubbed up well: Hero dog Jet gets a spring clean

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Near this spot
Are deposited the Remains
Of one
Who possessed Beauty
Without Vanity,
Strength without Insolence,
Courage without Ferocity,
And all the Virtues of Man
Without his Vices.

–          Lord Byron

On Thursday morning past, the July 14, a visitor to the Sensory Garden at Calderstones would have been greeted with an unusual sight. Sixteen Year 5 pupils from Childwall C of E Primary School had been invited down by The Reader to help preserve a special monument.

The monument to Jet of Iada, a life-saving rescue dog, has been standing in Calderstones Park since the 1940s and over a wet and muddy winter the monument was not looking its best.

Jet was a local canine born on 21 July 1942 who became a national hero for saving 150 lives during the Blitz and who was awarded the PDSA Dickin Medal (recognised worldwide as ‘the animals’ Victoria Cross’) and the RSPCA’s Medallion of Valour. The PDSA Dickin Medal is the highest award any animal can receive whilst serving in military conflict.

Jet led the Civil Defence VE Day parade through London and he later saved more lives during a mine collapse in Cumbria in 1947. When he died he was buried in Calderstones Park where he used to be walked, and a stone monument was erected in his memory.

It was a beautiful morning and, being in the walled gardens, the monument became a bit of a sun trap.  Buckets of warm water, soap, scouring pads, cloths and brushes where prepared and soon work began.

Jet Before and After
A before and after shot of the children’s hard work

The children were eager to get started and soon the monument was awash with suds, puddles and pupils.  If ever there was needed proof that many hands make light work then this was it.

A special treat for the children was to meet Jet’s former owner, 93 year old Lilias Ward who grew up with the Alsatian in Garth Drive, Allerton.

A reporter from the Liverpool Echo also visited to get some lovely shots of the monument, the children and Mrs Ward.

The children and The Reader were joined by the Friends of Harthill and Calderstones Park to promote the local history of Calderstones Park to schools in the area in conjunction with The Storybarn by offering chances to visit the park and get ‘hands on’ with its history.

Jet was a very brave and special dog, as the children at Childwall Primary have been discovering in their lessons. It’s fantastic that as well as visiting Jet’s memorial to celebrate him as a national hero, they got to meet Mrs Ward and share her fond memories of a dog that was more than just a pet.

As You Like It at Calderstones Mansion

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Returning to Calderstones after the huge success of last summer’s production, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, award-winning MATE Productions, in partnership with the Shakespeare North Trust & RSC Open Stage, will mark Shakespeare’s 400th birthday with a production of As You Like It.

 Journey deep into the Forest of Arden for this hilarious and magical outdoor promenade performance, as cross-dressing heroines and triumphant heroes learn how to embrace their imaginations, let go of their fears and surrender to romance.

MATE Productions is a Knowsley based community arts organisation that work in film, theatre, dance, storytelling and music to engage communities and young people across Merseyside, staging high quality productions in various theatres, arts and community venues and festivals. This has extended into greats halls, museums, docklands, pubs, and gardens such as our own lovely patch here at Calderstones.

You might have heard the Shakespeare North Trust mentioned in the news recently. They’re been granted planning permission and funding to build a £19 million commemorative theatre in the heart of Prescot’s historic town centre which boasted, over four hundred years ago, the only purpose-built playhouse outside London. The new theatre will have at it’s core an International University College, the first of it’s kind in the world focusing on Shakespearean performance practice.

Shakespeare North aims to make Knowsley once again a place where actors, writers, artists, students and young people will be able to study and practise the plays of Shakespeare; place which will attract scholars, students and visitors from all over the world.

 With live musicians and singers, stunning design and a talented local cast, this production promises an abundance of magic and fun for all the family.


Calderstones Mansion House gardens, Calderstones Park, L18 3JB
Saturday 11th June – 2pm & 6.30pm
Please bring a folding garden seat or a blanket to sit on. 

Tickets are available to purchase in person from Calderstones Mansion House (Monday-Friday 9am – 5pm)

Alternatively you can purchase tickets online here.
For more information telephone: 0151 426 4979 / 07833204058

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What next for the Calderstones?

A message from our Heritage Stories Maker Richard MacDonald on upcoming developments at Calderstones:

Last Friday I had the pleasure of showing BBC Radio Merseyside DJ Sean Styles around The Calderstones.

Sean has long been a champion of Liverpool’s hidden heritage and having heard about The Reader’s plans to move the stones he was keen to get the details and learn more about their importance in Liverpool’s history. Sean said he’d seen the stones many years ago but had never been up close so it was a real treat to allow him access to the greenhouse to appreciate them up close.

You can hear the full interview with Richard, starting at 1 hour and 9 minutes in, here.