EXACTLY two centuries after first setting up in Oxford, a music shop is to close its doors for the final time.

Brothers Graham and Russell Ansell, the third generation of their family to run Russell Acott, have decided to retire, blaming crippling competition from the Internet.

Graham Ansell, 68, said: “This is the end of an era. We have very mixed feelings – we are pleased to be retiring but sad that the business is going.”

The business began in 1811 when James Russell opened a small shop, known as Russells, in High Street selling and tuning pianos.

After moving twice, he finally settled at a High Street site leased from the Westminster Bank.

Following his death, the firm passed to three partners – George Druce, a celebrated botanist, Frederick Ansell, twice Mayor of Oxford, and a Mr Emberlin. Ansell’s son, Humphrey, took over in the 1920s.

Russells absorbed Acott, another music firm in 1950 and moved into Acott’s shop, also on the High Street.

Over the years it evolved into a music, radio, television and record shop with sheet music one of its major specialities.

In 1963 it was even offering a radio wrapped in mink for the then-astronomical sum of £150.

But in 1998 falling profits and high rents led to it moving away from its traditional home to the Hinksey Business Centre in Botley where the business continued on a much smaller scale.

Its traditional High Street home was taken over by an outlet of restaurant and bar chain All Bar One.

It has continued renting out pianos, selling instruments, accessories and sheet music but will close in February with the loss of three jobs.

Mr Ansell added: “Retail has changed. People look at things in shops and then buy it on the Internet.

These days music shops are little more than one-man bands.

“We realised we would have to downsize and we moved out of the city. Looking back, we got out at the right time.”

Neither Graham nor Russell, 65, who both live in Oxford, have any children, which added to the decision to close the business.

Graham Jones, spokesman for Oxford’s High Street Business Association, and retail campaign group Rescue Oxford (ROX), said: “It is incredibly sad to see another Oxford institution gone.”