THE LONDON SILVER VAULTS ARE A SPARKLING UNDERGROUND SECRET
The London Silver Vaults is an underground silver market that opened in 1876 as the Chancery Lane Safe Deposit. The building it is located in, on Chancery Lane, was damaged during World War II. It was rebuilt and opened in its present format in 1953. The Vaults houses 30 shops selling everything from jewellery to pocket watches to cutlery.
The London Silver Vaults, 53-64 Chancery Lane, London WC2A 1QS. Phone: 020 7242 3844
READ MAHRUKH MCDONALD'S STORY
Deep down in the very depths of central London lies a secret even many locals are unaware of. The address is 53-64 Chancery Lane. Enter through the unassuming doorway with “The London Silver Vaults” inscribed over it, go down two flights of stairs, and you will be in the catacombs that were built in 1876 as strong rooms for London’s rich and famous. It now houses the world’s largest collection of fine silver ranging from small items (cuff links, spoons, card holders, or even a champagne swizzle stick) to grander pieces such as bowls, pots, and urns to even larger items like a full-sized silver armchair! It has been suggested you put on your sunglasses when entering this sparkling underground world!
You will find items dating from the 16th Century to contemporary pieces. Prices range from around £25 to over £100,000. But you don’t have to buy anything – many visitors just go to have a look at this amazing underground silver market.
Most of the 30 shops here are family run and have been handed down through generations, many in their third generation. And they aren’t all silver shops. Anthony Green specialises in antique pocket watches. The shop has a clock that was built not far away in Clerkenwell 300 years ago that still works perfectly. There is even a pocket watch with a loud chime for each quarter hour!
There are jewellery shops selling bespoke silver jewellery quite unlike the standard pieces you find in high street shops.
You can spend as much time as you like but allow at least an hour, especially if you want to chat to the friendly shopkeepers. They’re happy to share stories of famous customers and tell you what they bought too.