In the year 2002 the Tea Merchant on Queen St in Wolverhampton W.M.T. Snapes was sold at auction and sadly Wolverhampton lost some of its heritage. The Tea store had been preserved and was vastly unchanged, functioning for over 150 years and people came from far and wide just to see it and watch their tea and coffee be served in the traditional way. Snapes became the best known shop in Wolverhampton.
I remember Phil Parkes the owner pictured in this series of images being very welcoming towards me when as a student I asked to see if I could photograph my very first photo essay for my course while as student in Manchester in 1994.
The shop originated with the firm Budget and Budget a Bristol based company which in the early nineteenth century built up a chain of about 100 shops however at some point there was a sell off and most of their shops were sold to managers. Snapes is thought to be the only survivors of these shops. Mr Snape eventually passed it on to Albert Edward Parkes who was originally an errand boy for him, Mr Parkes was the grandfather of the last owner Mr Phillip Parkes pictured in this set of images with his wife.