London has a never-ending treasure trove of unusual things to do, see and experience.
Last week, I finally had the long awaited opportunity to visit the world-renowned subterranean labrynth called The London Silver Vaults. The vaults are located between the City and West End, in Chancery Lane.
The London Silver Vaults are one of those places that I had been wanting to experience for the past few years, but just never made the time to do it. And I am so sorry that I waited as long as I did! It was an interesting place to explore and I can’t wait to go back again.
The London Silver Vaults History
Originally known as The Chancery Lane Safe Deposit, the company itself has a rich as well as fascinating history going all the way back to 1886.
At the time, the business specialized in renting strongrooms to very wealthy Londoners to store their silver and other valuables for safe keeping when they would leave London for their country estates on summer holidays.
In those days, the building was protected by armed guards wielding cudgels, cutlasses and shotguns.
As years went on the business was also used as a secure storage repository for the silver dealers and jewelers operating in London during World War II. In fact, the building actually survived a direct hit by bombing during the war.
Eventually, things started to shift as hefty taxes were being placed on the wealthy London families. Many of those families started selling off their precious silver to save their estates.
By the time the 1950s came around, American servicemen and diplomats stationed in the United Kingdom were being invited down to the visit the vaults. This was because they were the only people with money to spend at the time. They had the opportunity to purchase antique English silver at fantastic prices to take home to the women in their lives.
The London Silver Vaults Today
Today, The London Silver Vaults holds the worlds largest retail collection of silver antiques ranging from the craftsmanship of the 16th century all the way up to present day.
No pictures are allowed in the hallways for security reasons but there are over 30 independent businesses located within the vaults. Most of them are family-run with some being in their third generation of operation.
Everyone who works there is friendly and really passionate about silver. Best of all, they are eager to share their extensive knowledge and welcome questions.
Anyone is welcome to shop in the vaults and many celebrities, as well as royalty, have.
There’s no charge to get in and once you descend into the underground chamber you’ll find everything from jewelry, watches and tableware to decorative pieces and collectors items.
Prices range from about £25 on up to thousands upon thousands.
The London Silver Vaults is a unique place to pick up a special gift for someone…or just for yourself! I had an amazing time touring the vaults and would say its definitely worth a visit.
Do you have any off the beaten path experiences that you have had in London (or anywhere else!) that you would like to share? I’d love to hear about them! Tell me about it in the comments area below.
Thanks for reading! Cheers!