great places to visit off the beaten path.
The London Silver Vaults started life as the Chancery Lane Safe Deposit in 1876. The original purpose was to rent “strong rooms” to London’s wealthy to safeguard their household silver, jewellery and personal documents. In addition to the elite of London, merchants, such as the diamond dealers from nearby Hatton Gardens, also began to use the vaults for nightly storage. As the vaults became more reputable and the safety trusted dealing began directly from the vaults. Slowly over time, silver dealers begain to replace families and diamond traders as the facility offered the safety they were seeking.
In fact the underground vault proved its safety. With steel walls almost 4 feet thick German bombs that fell directly on top of the vault during WW II failed to compromise the complex. However, with the building above destroyed, it was deemed an opportune time to enlarge and rebuild the vault complex. One section would now house safe deposits, with another section comprised of 40 individual smaller rooms which could each house a silver dealer’s showroom. This created an underground avenue of small shops, each lockable and secure within the main vault. The current vault layout has now been this way since reopening in 1953.
All shops belong to the London Silver Vaults Association whose Charter provides the customer with protection that purchases made are correctly described. While silver is the main item for sale (mostly antique), other items available are Old Sheffield Plate, silver-plate, modern silver, jewellery and vintage watches. In addition vendors here will also buy, exchange, value and repair silver. Prices range from the low end very affordable to very expensive, so while browsing is fun, purchases need not break the bank. Open Mon-Fri 9-5:30 and Sat 9-1.
Located at: Chancery Lane (just south of High Holborn), London WC2A 1QS
Closest tube: Chancery Lane