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A striking selling area in the Melford Antiques, Interiors & Lifestyle Centre which reopens on April 12.

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It is in the historic Suffolk town of Long Melford, a place that in its heyday hosted 20 antiques businesses and was particularly popular during the Lovejoy years.

Filming of the television series shown between 1986-92 about a roguish antiques dealer, played by Ian McShane, focused on the town.

When the economy took a dive and business rates and overheads soared, the numbers of antiques businesses in Long Melford were much reduced, however.

Back to life

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Owner Graham Hessell pictured when this former granary was being restored.

The 100-dealer Melford Antiques Warehouse suddenly closed in September 2019 after 25 years of trading.

Hessell, a trader at the former warehouse since 1995, has brought the Grade II-listed former granary back to life.

“We had an incredible opening with much interest, great footfall and subsequent sales, although the subsequent lockdowns were frustrating and disappointing for all the trade,” he said.

“But we did hold our first online auction from the centre in February, organised via thesaleroom.com and Chalkwell Auctions in Southend, which was a big success, with the next planned for mid-May. Plus we have some exciting in-house exhibitions planned for the summer.”

Hessell added: “All our dealers here have been very supportive and are busy working on different layouts and replenishing their stock. We now have some newcomers which will bring our numbers to 45, although I can find room for further quality dealers.”

melfordantiquesandinteriors.co.uk

Laure Bonner has co-organised with Pearl Gee the small, 30-dealer monthly popular Melford Antiques and Vintage Fair since 2014.

She said: “As it stands now our first fair back at the Old School in Long Melford will be on Saturday and Sunday, May 29-30, with Covid-secure and social-distancing measures in place.”

melfordantiquesfair.co.uk