Many celebrities are fans of the Sunbury Antiques Market, including the actor Richard E Grant, who fell into our consciousness in the 1987 cult film Withnail and I. Since living in a Portobello Road bedsit in the early 1980s, he has been, he says, “a lifelong hoarder and collector… once you start collecting things, it becomes an obsession”. His collecting bug, which includes a huge collection of puppets and papier-mâché carnival heads, is apparent from this Tweeted picture of Grant at Sunbury Antiques Market last month, brandishing what looks like a potato masher.

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Starting in 1979 with £100 from his indomitable mother, the late Sue Cruttenden, Edward helped out before he went to school.

One memory he has of these early days is his mother pinning a notice in the back of his coat: ‘20p’ to help stallholders unpack their boxes.

This 700-plus dealer market, just 16 miles from central London and with its own train station, remains one of the best-known and supported on the fairs and markets scene, and is a particular hit with London decorators and theatre and film companies.

The trade adores it (and many celebs – see below). Every fortnightly market in 2016 has been a sell-out with an upturn in international buyers, said Cruttenden, who is ever on the search for opportunities to publicise the market.

He said: “Recently we’ve been working with Airbnb City Hosts who have been keen to show off Sunbury Antiques Market as a ‘must visit’ while in London. This is going live in the New Year, so all exciting stuff.

“We are also working with new tour groups, including Boerderij Lezersreizen, to create packages for their clients with visits to Sunbury markets, trips to Hampton Court Palace and Windsor Castle, and the obligatory pub lunch.”

The next Sunbury Antiques Market is on Tuesday, January 10.