Perhaps best known for her shop in Chapel Yard, Holt, Maura started her career in antiques in 1983 by trading in items inherited from her family in Bermondsey Market, dashing down from her then home in Bury St Edmunds in her Porsche 924 which became known to traders and police alike and for her appearance as a blonde in leather trousers – a bit unusual for Bermondsey at that time.
A more sedate and serious period next followed after a move of home to Brisley near Dereham in Norfolk, with a shared shop in Swaffham, Norfolk.
However, her real flourishing as an antiques dealer specialising in fine Georgian and Regency furniture dated from the establishment of her shop in Chapel Yard, Holt, under the name of Maura Henry Antiques and Interiors.
The shop became very well known in Norfolk antiques circles and gradually the news of this venture became known to a wider circle including London and overseas houses. It also became the venue for social gatherings with a salon-like atmosphere, especially on Friday afternoons.
Eclectic additions to the core business of fine furniture gave the shop an attractive and interesting atmosphere, with the addition of musical instruments, longcase clocks and even a maharajah’s howdah. Perhaps one of the highlights was a visit from nearby Sandringham by Princess Margaret.
The shop closed after Maura found the strain of running it too much in parallel with caring for a seriously ill husband as his condition deteriorated following a botched operation which necessitated the amputation of a leg.
However, the shop was fondly remembered by many customers and friends in the trade, and even after her remarriage and eventual move to a 1680s listed home near Sleaford in Lincolnshire, naturally beautifully furnished with antiques retained from her active career, she remained a dab hand at finding bargains at auctions – perhaps sometimes forgetting she was buying for herself and no longer trading!
From William Lyons (husband)