Friday, 16 January 2015

Anthony's comfortable start to new ventureAbove: Anthony Corns is pictured restoring an 1840s bedroom chair for a customer in Austria.
A professional photographer who worked in Germany for 20 years has focused on a new career in Silsden as a furniture maker and upholstery restorer. Anthony Corns opened his shop in the landmark old Co-op building at 74 Keighley Road in April last year, since when he has been working flat out to meet flourishing demand.

Above: a strikingly re-upholstered chair.
Restoration work has been particularly successful. Anthony offers a bespoke service with an upmarket selection of patterned and plain fabrics woven and dyed in the UK. Tweeds in 100% wool are in fashion. Fabrics cost up to £100 per metre and the average price is between £50 and £70. As an example, an armchair may require four metres.The fabric suppliers are Abraham Moon, of Guiseley, Art of the Loom in Clitheroe and Hampshire-based Linwood. All three are long-established family-owned textile businesses.   
Above: Anthony with one of the chairs he has made and upholstered.
Anthony trained at the Kendal School of Upholstery after returning to Yorkshire from Germany, where he had served as a British Army regimental photographer for 10 years. When his regiment was disbanded Anthony freelanced as a photographer for German newspapers and magazines but was overtaken by the digital revolution – nowadays print media are inundated with free photos from the public. After a spell as a publisher, Anthony came home, spurred by his Austrian wife’s love of the Dales. The shop in Silsden happened to be on the market at the time Anthony was looking for premises. But he knows Silsden from childhood – he lived here with his grandparents until he was four.
Above: The ‘made by anthony corns’ shop front. The large building was opened in 1908 by the Silsden Co-operative Society (the faded words can still be seen above the row of shops), and originally comprised boots and shoes and clogging outlets, the entrance to a coal yard and a butcher's, which was where Anthony has his shop.