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The ornate gas light fittings still run the full length of the counter and across the window, and among the scarlet lacquered tea bins and Oriental tea crates are some which arrived aboard the Cutty Sark. A unique set of 34 tea cannisters occupy shelves behind the counter, each painted with a flag representing different countries of the world. It is interesting to note that the United States flag bears only 20 stars – Mississippi becoming the 20th state in December 1817.

Although he did not found the shop, even the name of Snape has remained unchanged for more than half a century, despite handing on the business to his young apprentice, whose own son ran the store for many years before finally deciding to close its doors and sell the contents.

Walker Barnett & Hill, who are handling the sale, can be contacted on 01902 375555. Further images can be viewed on their website at www.walker-barnett-hill.co.uk.