If vintage kitchenalia is your drug, then the Brown and White shop at 53 Long Street in Tetbury is the equivalent of a cocaine dealer’s den. Four entire floors of a beautiful, double fronted historic building is dedicated to the shabby-chic-retro world of old jelly moulds, enamel cake tins, polka dot tea towels, turquoise hand-blown glassware, steel weighing scales, wooden bread racks, bone and silver cutlery, striped grain sacks, copper pots, French faience porcelain and all manner of the old, the alluring and the highly covetable.
Libs Lewis, the founder of Sharland and Lewis, who used to trade across the road, is the proud owner, along with her husband, of the shop. As you make your way round its myriad of small rooms, leading off coir covered landings, winding onwards, upwards, bated breath, eyes darting, you will be focussed on the prize, the booty. One room more beautiful than the next, you could quite easily spend a whole morning wandering through this vast and exquisite collection, lusting after furniture, lighting, rugs, flags, signs and art deco lettering.
If you were re-decorating your home and wanted to create an evocative, colonial and romantic ambiance, with a pale and rugged palette, revealing the patina of age and glory, from when Britain ruled the world, France threatened it, the map was covered in red, and there was still honey and jam for tea, this is your kind of shop.
Needless to say, husbands will be throwing sharp objects at the computer now. Be prepared to pay what the market demands, because Country Living, World of Interiors and Homes and Gardens magazine have only driven this market one way, and it isn’t south. But when you hold that delicate, cross-stitched monogrammed napkin in your hand, that encased wooden biscuit mould, that white tea cup lined with blush pink and crimson red roses in your hand, time stands still. You wonder about the Victorian fingers that stitched, the Georgian hands that carved, and the 1920’s dinner party that celebrated it’s, then, novelty. Within the walls of 53 Long Street there are many stories, families, kitchens and lives. Be prepared for the most beautiful shop in England.