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'It's not like Lovejoy anymore' - Suffolk village loses another antique store

PUBLISHED: 07:00 04 October 2019

Melford Antiques & Interiors, in Hall Street, Long Melford, has shut down. Photo: Archant /PA

Melford Antiques & Interiors, in Hall Street, Long Melford, has shut down. Photo: Archant /PA

PA IMAGES/ ARCHANT

One of the last remaining antique shops in a Suffolk village made famous by classic British series Lovejoy has closed down.

Melford Antiques & Interiors, in Hall Street, Long Melford, has shut down. Photo: Archant.Melford Antiques & Interiors, in Hall Street, Long Melford, has shut down. Photo: Archant.

Melford Antiques and Interiors, in Hall Street, Long Melford, shut up shop last week - leaving just two antique stores in a village once defined by the industry.

The store, a huge four-storey warehouse which once housed up to 250 dealers, closed down on Saturday, September 28.

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Customers arriving at the long-established site over the weekend were said to be shocked by the closure, with the venue's website also being taken offline.

Melford Antiques & Interiors, in Hall Street, Long Melford, has shut down. Photo: Archant.Melford Antiques & Interiors, in Hall Street, Long Melford, has shut down. Photo: Archant.

"It all happened very quickly", explained Rob Williams, clerk at Long Melford Parish Council.

"It wasn't a long drawn out affair at all, we only heard about it yesterday. We were very surprised.

"It has been in business here for many years and has always been a loyal servant to Long Melford."

Melford Antiques & Interiors, in Hall Street, Long Melford, has shut down. Photo: Archant.Melford Antiques & Interiors, in Hall Street, Long Melford, has shut down. Photo: Archant.

Mr Williams added: "It will be a hard business to replace in light of where it is and the size of the business.

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"There hasn't been a huge reaction in the village yet because it has been so sudden, I'm not sure many people know."

The classic BBC series Loveyjoy was filmed in Long Melford and surrounding area. Picture: PA IMAGESThe classic BBC series Loveyjoy was filmed in Long Melford and surrounding area. Picture: PA IMAGES

The clerk said the closure leaves Long Melford with just two antique stores - a far cry from its Lovejoy heyday.

The much-loved BBC series followed the adventures of the show's titular character - an antique dealing rogue played by Ian McShane.

It was filmed across Suffolk and north Essex between 1986 and 1994, with Long Melford and neighbouring Sudbury featuring prominently in the show.

Melford Antiques & Interiors, in Hall Street, Long Melford, has shut down. Photo: Archant.Melford Antiques & Interiors, in Hall Street, Long Melford, has shut down. Photo: Archant.

During this period there were around 20 antiques businesses operating in Long Melford and the show helped define the boom.

To this day the comedy-drama and its brooding protagonist are held dearly in the hearts of residents.

And while the village's monthly antiques fair still proves to be a popular attraction the industry has changed so much since the end of the popular show.

"It's no longer an easy business", added Mr Williams.

"If you go back to the days of Lovejoy when there were lots of antiques stores, things have changed significantly in the national economy since then."

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