Calderstones Mansion House is reopening next month after a £5million, three-year refurbishment.
A housewarming weekend of celebrations will take place at the grade II listed venue, which is home to The Reader charity, on September 14-15.
They include a Round the Clock Dickens reading of A Tale of Two Cities, with guest readers, volunteers and staff taking turns in reading the classic in two days, tours of the newly refurbished Mansion House and grounds, a literary origami art installation to be made by the public, a chance to see the newly restored ancient Calder Stones in a purpose-built exhibition space, Shared Reading for young and old, music and family storytelling sessions.
The Reader’s Jane Davis said: “After three years, we’re thrilled to finally be throwing open the doors to the Mansion House and inviting everyone in to celebrate.
“When I was a pupil at what is now Calderstones School all those years ago, I used to walk through the park and past the Mansion almost every day. It was in quite a sorry state at the time, so I’m absolutely thrilled to see it brought back to life today.
“It’s still not completely finished – there are still lots of things we need to fill it and lots of work for us to do over the years ahead – but I can’t wait to welcome everyone in.”
The rear of the newly-restored Mansion House
Calderstones Park has been the home of The Reader since 2011. In 2013, the charity signed a 125-year lease to become custodians of the Mansion House.
The refurbishment project is the latest work to be completed at the site. The Reader has previously converted empty buildings into community spaces including The Reader Café and Ice Cream Parlour, and the children’s story centre the Storybarn.
Plans for the Mansion House centre around The Reader’s mission to give everyone a chance to experience literature’s life-supporting benefits and include weekly groups and activities, yoga and special events. It will also be home to the International Centre for Shared Reading.
In addition there will be a new café, ashop, event spaces, reading rooms, a wellbeing studio, heritage exhibition and commercial offices for hire, and job and volunteering opportunities for the local community.
The Mansion House Housewarming Weekend takes place from 8.30am to 8pm on September 14-15.