The Reader Organisation is progressing to the next stage of its £4m restoration of the listed Mansion House in the South Liverpool park having secured funding for the International Centre for Reading project.
Planning permission for the refurbishment of the Mansion House was granted in June 2015. In December, the Heritage Lottery Fund granted the project £1.99m. Further funding has been secured from Liverpool City Council and public donations.
Architects are now being invited to bid for the £170,000 contract to deliver the project over the next two years. As well as restoring the grade two-listed house and outbuildings the ancient Calderstones, neolithic monoliths, will also be displayed.
Liverpool-based practice Cass Associates advised on the designs through the planning process.
The Reader runs workshops and reading programmes to connect people with great literature. Once completed the Mansion House must, according to the brief, will be a dynamic series of rooms able to cope with a range of activities for groups from the organisation’s key audiences of families, retired and elderly people, people with mental health problems, people with physical health problems, vulnerable adults and vulnerable young people.
A spokesman for The Reader said: “The finished building will house a heritage room which will show how one of the rooms may have looked in 1880 with visitors having the opportunity to interact with objects and learn about the history of the house at that time. There will also be four key reading rooms allowing The Reader to continue their shared reading groups, bringing people together to read great literature out loud as a practical way of improving wellbeing, building stronger communities and extending reading pleasure.”
The Reader agreed a long lease with the council in 2013 and has moved its head office into the Mansion House and opened a café and gallery.
Todd & Ledson and Curtins advised the Reader Organisation.