The Reader at Calderstones

Hello! I’m Richard, Heritage Stories Maker for The Reader.

I’m guessing you’re here because you want to know about The Reader’s plans for Calderstones.

Calderstones Park, situated in the south of the city of Liverpool, UK is a 123 acre park built around a 19th Century Mansion House. The park is also home to a 1000 year old tree, The Allerton Oak and the 5000 year old Calderstones.

In 2013 The Reader moved into Calderstones Mansion on a licence from Liverpool City Council who had owned the building since 1902.

Intending to create an International Centre for Reading and Wellbeing – the first of its kind in the world – The Reader entered a competitive process and in 2014 won a 125 year lease on the building from Liverpool City Council. In winter 2015 The Reader was successful in securing a £1.9 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to undertake the renovation of the building and – importantly – create a new home for The Calderstones.

Calderstones Mansion House

Since 1902 the Mansion House has been used variously as council offices, employee apartments and function rooms. As you can imagine by 2016 she is starting to show her 187 years and a major investment is needed to secure the building for the future.

Since gaining the lease, Calderstones has become a hub for Shared Reading groups, arts, crafts, health and well-being groups as well as a popular venue for small conferences and parties.

The renovated Mansion will include a dedicated heritage space telling the stories of the Park and the history of the stones as well as reading and meeting rooms, an enlarged bistro/café and the restoration of the art-deco Open Air Theatre.

The Calderstones

The Calderstones are six large stones which are covered in rock-carvings done by some of the earliest people to live in the Liverpool area. They are a very rare example of this occurring in Great Britain and are the earliest link we have between Liverpool and Ireland.

Pic 1 - 8th Mar

They were originally a burial mound (like this) but this was gone by the 18th Century. The man who built Calderstones Mansion moved the stones into a circle by Druids Cross Road in 1845 and then in 1964 they were placed in the greenhouse where they have been slowly and quietly deteriorating. Working with Museum of Liverpool, Manchester Museum, Historic England and the Merseyside Archaeological Society a plan is being drawn up to remove the Calderstones for conservation using the best and latest techniques before they are returned to Liverpool for display in specially constructed housing in the park.

The new display will aim to make the Calderstones a more prominent feature of the park and bring their little-known history into the spotlight as well as improving access and awareness.

This blog will aim to chronicle the progress of our work and keep you up to date with all the latest goings on at Calderstones Mansion.

If you have any questions or queries then please don’t hesitate to get in touch at: richardmacdonald@thereader.org.uk

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