Halls’ new purpose-built fine art saleroom has now officially opened.

After 50 years in their historic but inconvenient rooms at the Welsh Bridge in the centre of Shrewsbury, Hall's now occupy the newest auction facility in the country, incorporating two large salerooms, offices, storage and a café.

Just as importantly, they can now offer more than 100 parking spaces on an out-of-town site next to a motel and service station.

The new premises were opened on March 15 by Tim Wonnacott in front of an audience of more than 400 guests who were invited to raise their glasses to wish Halls' director of fine art Jeremy Lamond and his team every success in their new premises.

Mr Wonnacott praised the work that they had done to bring the project to a successful conclusion, but he also remembered his former Sotheby's colleague, the late Richard Allen, who joined Halls in 1992 and reinvigorated the fine art department.

"Richard was totally professional in everything he did," said Mr Wonnacott. "He cared passionately about all the things that matter in an auction business. His successors have carried on that tradition and you cannot look at this business and fail to be impressed by what Jeremy and his team have been able to create."

The inaugural sale at the new rooms on March 20 saw an original painting by Beryl Cook, depicting Plymouth Argyle footballers celebrating, take £24,500 against an estimate of £10,000-15,000.

The sale as whole totalled £300,000.