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A Brief History

The College was started in 1981 by Anne Dyer and Elizabeth Rumble. Anne’s great grandfather, Henry Clement Swinnerton Dyer, a successful Manchester businessman, inherited this valley from a senior line of the family. The land that now forms the seven and a half acres of college grounds was originally two fields with a tree lined stream running between them.

He started to build two farm cottages in one corner, facing two existing cottages. But before they were finished, he passed away. His family decided to move here, they took over the unfinished cottages, knocked them into one and turned part of the field into a garden.

In 1911 a large exstension was built, now known as the Long room, it was used as an unofficial village hall for everything from money raising concerts, and marriage guidance, to meetings of local committees. It was the size of this room that made the idea of the college possible.

Three trial courses were run in 1978, to see if the idea of the college would work. It did, so the building work began. The College was furnished with a mixture of old family items and work by living craftsmen.

Elizabeth Rumble decided that we needed an area designed for the ‘mucky’ crafts and so the Rumble room and Coffee area was built.

The conservatory grew old. The main beam holding it to the house sagged and rotted. The great gales of the late 1980’s took their toll and finally in 1990, the last gale threw a chunk of roof through it. In May 1991 work began to replace it with thre much needed rooms, one classroom and two bedrooms.

Due to the popularity of the college the Longroom’s polished floor started to suffer from the dye and wet basketry materials and the weather did not always allow for working outside. Finishing the Rumble Room coincided with the craze for painting on silk, and almost at once, we were short of space again. As we got busier, more teachers joined us. By 1995 we had four classrooms and a record number of 70 students on a Tuesday.



Anne Dyer

Westhope Garden

Woodland walks

Westhope Garden