A woman who set up a beauty salon from her parents’ Edwardian home in North Shields is celebrating its 20-year anniversary.

Leigh Adams moved into the property in Upper Norfolk Street with her husband and three children in 1995 and quickly saw the potential the beautiful building had for a salon.

The 58-year-old pooled all of her resources into making her dream a reality, and now, 20 years later, Sanctuary House is a hugely successful business with eight therapists offering treatments from holistic to hairdressing.

The women, who are all good friends, cite the unique feel of the building, the fantastic treatments offered, and support they have for each other as reasons for the business’s success.

Leigh said: “When we moved here the building just had such a lovely feel and ambience, I knew it could be a wonderful sanctuary for people to come and enjoy a treatment.

“It was a scary decision and very hard to be an independent business woman then. Initially I thought it may be a short-term business, but I had three children under five and I needed an income.

“A lot of people thought it would never work! Things were so different for women in the 90s, they didn’t prioritise themselves and couldn’t justify taking time out for a treatment.

 “Over time women’s perceptions have changed about having treatments and women come here to feel empowered. We get people from all walks of life, from an 80-year-old who has never had a treatment to others who are regular and like to look after their appearance or well-being.”

Leigh, who has worked all over the UK as a beauty therapist and had many worked with many famous faces, now works alongside 10 other women – including her daughter Lili who runs an interior gift shop from the premises.

Sanctuary House’s anniversary coincides with the 2018 ‘Year of the Woman’ which the therapists believe is a pertinent link.

Leigh added: “Women deserve to have time for themselves. I would encourage any woman out there with a business idea to give it a go, I never imagined I’d be here now, but I feel very lucky.

“I love being in North Shields, I have never met such a fantastic, eclectic bunch of amazing people anywhere else.”

Sanctuary House still maintains the original features of the Edwardian property, while offering everything from modern aesthetic procedures, hairdressing and beauty, to holistic and hypnotherapy treatments, with the salon billing itself as a one-stop shop for health and wellbeing.

Julia McCarthy, Holistic Therapist at Sanctuary House, said: “So many people come here and feel at home, clients get a lot of one-to-one TLC from their individual therapist, they form a trusting relationship with them in an environment that is relaxing and homely.”

This is a sentiment shared by Christine Jordan, the salon’s nail technician. She said: “Sanctuary House is an escape from home, it is so relaxing, very welcoming and unique. It is a comfort for our clients to know who they are going to get when they book a certain treatment.”

Despite the salon being originally a ‘house’ it boasts seven rooms, three floors and even a hairdressing salon and has welcomed thousands of clients through its door since it opened.

Anne Patterson, who has run the hairdressing salon at Sanctuary House for 11 years, said: “What makes this place special is that this is a cooperative, we are all self-employed but work under the same umbrella and it is lovely. We have the support of everybody who works here while still being individual, successful business women.”

Sanctuary House is at 3 Upper Norfolk Street in Northumberland Square, one of the best preserved Georgian squares in the North East.

For more information please go to sanctuaryhouse.co.uk, search ‘sanctuaryhouse’ on social media or call 0191 2577774.