FEATURE: The tiny village with a thriving business park
We all think we know the problems of living in a small village - no local shops and no local jobs.But that's less of a concern in Tur Langton, a village of under 250 people about six miles north of Market Harborough.The difference is The Manor - a converted dairy farm at the end of the village's Main Street. Reporter Alex Dawson and photographer Andrew Carpenter went along to find out more.
The Manor, run by the village’s Stanhope family, is now home to - or at least a storage space for - 42 small businesses, including a cafe, a spacious hair and beauty salon, a youth drama school, a pilates studio and a clutch of fascinating small shops.
Sian Stanhope, a partner in the Manor, said the family started to convert the farm’s barns into business units about 20 years ago.
“We’ve grown quite organically into what you see today.
“A lot of our businesses don’t want the High Street - they want a lovely place to come and work and have a bit of an HQ, and they get their following on social media.
“And of course we’re more affordable for small, independent businesses.”
Holly Brown (36) and Lottie Court (34) are two Tur Langton sisters who run the newly-extended Manor Hair and Beauty.
“We both grew up in Tur Langton, so it’s lovely to have our business here” said Lottie. “It’s a really pretty salon in a gorgeous location,”
Louise Jopling (44) has been at The Manor less than six months with her pretty shop called Tactile, selling artisan yarn, fabric, clothing and gadgets.
“I spent 24 years commuting to London” she said. “But this is my own business in a lovely country environment.”
Close by Belinda Faulkner (34) is working in her jewellery shop/workshop on beautiful bespoke rings, featuring the customer’s fingerprint.
“I was a jewellery designer for a major company” explained the mother-of-two. “But I always wanted to be my own boss. I’ve found a lot of it is down to good time management.”
Down the row again, there’s print and bookmaker Mandeep Dhadialla (36) of Laughing Cactus, planning her next in-shop printmaking course.
And just around the corner, Kelle Garner (36) is putting a class of enthusiastic theatre kids through their paces at Lemon Jelly.
Mother and daughter team of Anneli Clarke and Ainsley Poole (nee Bunny) started up both the Bunny and Clarke lifestyle / gift shop and the cosy Mint and Ginger Cafe.
“The cafe used to be part of the original shop” said Anneli (45). “But we couldn’t cope when 40 cyclists turned up!”
“Most businesses that start small here have moved on to larger premises” said Sian. “It’s a bit like musical chairs.”
And new businesses arrive all the time - the latest is caterer The Indulgent Menu.
The latest plan is to use converted shipping containers for small, design-led businesses. They’ll be ready in the next eight weeks.
And why should customers visit The Manor? Sian summed up: “It’s a beautiful, rural location with some interesting, quirky businesses.”