The late Sheila Hough.

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Together with her then husband John DS Hough (Des), she opened Somerville Hough Antiques in The Yews, 27, London End, Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, in the early 1950s eventually becoming a furniture specialist supported by the excellent restoration skills of Charles Hole who had a workshop attached to the building.

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The Yews was a rabbit warren housing energetic and unconventional individuals including a parliamentary candidate and a member of the aristocracy.

Sheila sublet the top floor to the families of servicemen working at the nearby US Army base, some of whom, in those days, expected to have difficulty finding local accommodation.

She despised racism and advised prospective tenants that the only colour she was interested in was the colour of their money.

The shop flourished, trading with dealers from around the UK and abroad and with many private customers including Rebecca West, Barbara Cartland and Alison Uttley.

Perhaps some readers will remember other dealers in the area in the 1960s – Harold Brown, Ollie Tribe, Syd Cully, Peggy Merrick and Wolf Fraser among them.

Des Hough was considered to have an eye for paintings and opened Beaconsfield Galleries, also in The Yews, and he maintained that business after the household broke up in 1968 until his sudden early death in 1971.

Sheila, who was of Liverpool Welsh and Irish descent, returned to Merseyside to look after her own mother. She opened Cowe Antiques in Southport in 1969 and continued to specialise in furniture and treen, regularly attending auctions, especially in Manchester, and sourcing items for loyal private customers until her retirement.