A mum’s passion for upholstery has turned into a thriving family business.

Jan Dyson took on upholstery teaching when adult education classes ended at Kirklees College and the result is Manorhouse School of Upholstery, based in Thorpe Lane at Almondbury.

This brilliant little business has been based at the family’s historic Thorpe Grange Manor home, just down from Almondbury village centre, since 2017.

It has a close-knit community of students from just down the road, all across the UK and from as far afield as Canada and Australia.

But all the classes are small, fun and friendly and people who have met on the courses have stayed in touch and formed friendships for life.

Mum-of-three Jan said: “Upholstery is a passion that became a business for me. It’s a fabulous skill that is easy to learn and is something that takes you away from your normal, everyday life. It’s great for mental health and wellbeing and also has its physical aspects too.

“We have people who do it as a hobby and a pastime to learn a new skill and meet new people and socialise; others may have a precious piece of family furniture they want to restore and save from the skip; or we also have students who already have a side-hustle or maybe want to learn new skills to grow a spare-time business.”

One group of people has been coming for three or four years, some students go back to the old college days and have been coming for 15 years.

Jan added: “We cater for everyone from complete beginners who have never picked up a hammer or staple gun before to those who perhaps have an interior design business and want to learn a new skill that they can offer to their clients.

“Then we also have larger companies who pay for their staff to come here to learn at first hand about how the products they sell are made.”

Manorhouse School of Upholstery runs a range of classes and courses throughout the year and it’s become so busy that Jan’s eldest son Alex, 22, is now an apprentice in the business.

Alex has picked up the skills needed so quickly he also helps with the teaching and Jan said: “Alex has always been creative and it’s wonderful to be working alongside him and see him grow and develop.

“The ambition is for him to eventually take over the business, not that I’ve any intention of retiring just yet. I just love what I do and couldn’t imagine ever giving up completely. Upholstery has you hooked for life!”

Jan, who is married to Antony, worked as a training officer for a large restaurant chain when she was made redundant.

Around that time – 2003 – the couple were having a family and free childcare was offered for people taking training courses.

Jan started adult education classes at Kirklees College and found her love for upholstery. When the college announced her course was to end she and another student, Angela Wray, were persuaded to take on the classes and Manorhouse School of Upholstery was born.

Jan and Antony, who also have son Fynnlay and daughter Antonia, converted the four-car garage at their home into a workshop, so while Jan is across the courtyard, Antony runs his digital agency from an attic office.

The other important member of the family business is Doug, a poodle-springer spaniel cross, who keeps a watchful eye on what happens in the workshop and loves a social media snap too.

The Recreational Course has 12 two-and-half hour sessions and runs at various times on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays and costs £330.

The 12-week Modern Course runs weekly on Thursdays and courses are held four times a year or there’s a 12-day block course, with the next one starting on July 17 and costs £1,395. Places are still available.

There’s also a series of one-day courses, which cost from £110-£145, and a three-day curtain-making course, run four times a year, that costs £330.

For more information or to book a course ring 07951 741965 or visit the website https://www.manorhouseupholstery.net/