Ancient Self Storage

The Evolution of Self Storage

Self-storage allows home owners, students, business owners and many more people to securely store items at a cost effective rate.

With increased rates for properties, growing families or downsized homes, it’s hard to let go of precious items or to even find room for bulkier goods. Hence, the growth of self storage in the UK has seen a steady increase over the last few years.

With all this in mind, we decided to delve in deeper to find out how self storage as we know it today, evolved.


Once upon a time…

 It is well known and argued that the very notion of self storage began as early as 6,000 years ago in ancient China and possibly Greece.

In China, people used to store their private items in ceramic pots which were then stored in underground areas. This can be argued as the first evidence of self storage as the facilities were open to the wider public.

It wasn’t until the late 19th century did we start seeing publicly available storage options in the UK, albeit, a very different concept to how we know it today. Banks began offering secure holding facilities to the British aristocracy who used to travel for months at end, not wanting to leave precious items unattended.

Moving forward, the pioneer of modern day self storage can be assigned to Martin Bekin who identified a need for storage facilities when there was an influx of immigrants arriving in America. Knowing they need somewhere to store their belongings, the Bekins were the first to build storage warehouses in 1906.


Modern day self storage

Although there is a rich history of storing items, it wasn’t until the mid 1950’s when America began to wake up to the benefits of self storage. The first ever unit site in which tenants had exclusive rights to the unit they were renting was opened in 1958 by the Collum family in Fort Lauderdale. The company was aptly named Lauderdale Storage.

A few years later, the demand for self storage grew across America with Russ Williams launching A1 U-Store in Texas. Nowadays, self storage in America has seen mass expansion, boasting over 50,000 facilities across the country.


Self Storage in the UK

The industry grew in the 1980s, proving to be hugely popular for expanding businesses. Using storage to host confidential documents, many business owners felt that self storage was and still is, the most effective and efficient way of keeping business merchandise secure and safe.

From the early 2000s, the idea of storing furniture became immensely popular in the UK with homeowners realising the benefits and cost effectiveness.

With popular shows such as Storage Wars, the UK industry has seen an increased awareness and demand for such units has soared.

There are now over 1000 facilities in the UK, fuelled by common reasons to use storage including moving hone, marriage, divorce, retirement and excess business stock.


For more information on self storage, please contact us directly.

Leave a Reply