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However, the innovative – and controversial – building, which is expected to be nominated for an architecture award later this year, sailed through the test with flying colours.

“People said we were mad to move onto the flood plain,” said Sonya Manser, “but the building was designed with that in mind. The floor is concrete and two metres above street level. We get a flood warning and then, if necessary, we just move the stock out of harm’s way.”

Mansers was established in Shrewsbury in 1944, and was based inside the loop of the Severn near English Bridge. “That building never flooded, but often the town was cut off by the water, so we moved across the bridge in November,” said Sonya.

The company is now based near the medieval abbey – home of the fictional detective Brother Cadfael. And she paid tribute to the resilience of the British buying public: “They were incredible. The water didn’t get into the gallery but it was right up to the building, but still people came. We were actually very busy that day.”