Friday - 01 August 2014

The silver vaults - 60 years as a London institution

15 August 2013Written by Anna Brady

Back in 1953, The London Silver Vaults opened on the site of the 1880s Chancery Lane Safe Deposit Company, where the great and the good (and no doubt not so good) of London stowed their valuables.

Security, of course, was paramount in the new vaults' design and each is housed behind a foot-thick bank vault-type door, three storeys underground. Today, several of the 27 resident dealers are third-generation traders here and, although cosseted away off Chancery Lane, the whereabouts of this London institution must be known by London cabbies to pass 'the knowledge'.

To celebrate its 60th anniversary, the vaults are holding a few events this summer, continuing to the end of October. Currently on view is a picture exhibition charting the vaults' history from its early days in the 1950s, including a drawing by Ronald Searle published in 1959 by the BBC which depicts the main shopping 'street' with silver piled high on tables outside each vault, before they were converted into shops.

Selling Exhibition

A prize draw to win £1000 to spend at the shops is also running over the summer (closing on October 31) alongside a selling exhibition of silver and jewellery, with themed cabinets containing pieces selected from the dealers' stock.

Inevitably, even three storeys underground, there's still no escaping Royal Baby Fever and one of the themes is special occasions, containing a stash of christening gifts. Picturedhere, are some of the items at the Silver Vaults celebrating the arrival of the Royal baby.

Antiques Trade Gazette is the weekly bible of the fine art and antiques industry. Read articles like this every week in the Antiques Trade Gazette or ATG app. Click here to subscribe today.

Back to top