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The shelter is part of the building in the RAF Hemswell complex in Lincoln where the centre, Astra Antiques, is based. Owners opened the area, called The Vault, earlier this month and say it benefits particularly from stringent security regulations.

“We already do a good low and middle-end business here, but we’re trying to bring another side to the centre to encourage the higher end of the trade,” manager Barry Aucott told ATG. The area features spotlighting and mirrors and is set aside for silver and jewellery as well as a few pieces of arms and armour.

“We’ve gone to town on security and done everything we can down there,” Aucott said. He listed smoke machines, alarms and specially raised tables, to discourage any opportunistic swiping of stock, as among the safety measures in place – “anything to make theft difficult,” Aucott said.

So far dealers have shown interest and two weeks after opening the 12 x 20 ft space, 10 of the 17 cabinets had been let.

“It’s all about giving confidence to our dealers,” Aucott said. “And it looks the part too.”

Astra Antiques is one of several antiques centres opened at the former RAF base, including Hemswell Antiques Centre. 

In addition to The Vault, Astra are currently building an extension of around 4000 sq ft which is set to open before the end of the year.