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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.

Westhope College was founded by Anne Dyer 40 years ago as a supportive and peaceful space where visitors and students, of all abilities, would come to be inspired and learn their craft. Creative talents are discovered and developed, and friendships are forged.

Anne continues to teach at Westhope each week, always keen to support a new student, always ready to learn a new skill herself... and always accompanied by her two Jack Russells:
Puptoo and Trio.


Anne Dyer

Westhope Garden