The History of Self Storage

For us here at Twenty4 taking pride in our work means not just knowing what our customers needs are but to know all the ins and outs of our business. With that comes the interesting question of the history of the self storage unit and self storage business. 


Understanding the history of our work helps us not only optimise our services but learn from our past to prepare and advance into the future! We also believe that having our customers be educated and informed about what we can do for them is an important part of any business.


 So, we’ve put together a brief but detailed history of self storage for those who liked to be prepared or are simply the more curious minded of customers.


In The Beginning : 2000 BC – 1800 AD 

the beginning of time

Self Storage is estimated to have begun, as many brilliant inventions are, in ancient China and ancient Greece. Although obviously not an uncommon phenomenon throughout history, storage was typically of food such as meat and vegetables in jars or carved units in walls. 


However, evidence of self storage of personal possessions has been traced back to these great ancient civilisations. More specifically in China it has been widely found that there was public storage available for personal items.

Storage of files and documents using a storing system for what is assumed to be personal possessions has been found in Delphi, Greece. A vast filling system being found in use by such a civilisation of great advancement such as ancient greece is not surprising but still quite interesting. 


It seems even in ancient cultures the demand for storage was very much a pressing matter. Leaning more towards the storage of food and wine rather than furniture or vehicles such as today.  Chests were a daily tool for storage in ancient Egypt for both in life and death.


Taken a step further again by the British aristocracy as, many centuries ago, began to use banks as storage units for the safe storage of not only money but valuable possessions. This came from the increasing popularity of travel and the equally increasing threat of highway robbery!


The Modern Era : 1800 AD – 2000 AD

The Birth of Modern Storage Companies

Martin Bekin was an American man in the 1850s who, in order to meet the needs of incoming immigrants provided storage for them. This was due to those fortunate enough to have homes, had very little space within their home. Although, the first beginnings of the self storage unit we know today began in 1906 in Los Angeles. 


The Swinging Sixties of Storage

Using reinforced steel warehouses which were created and used as self storage units. This foundation paved the way for Lauderdale Storage in Florida in 1958 to first open for business. 

The popular success of the business took off so much that through the 1960’s the Texas based A1 U-Store-It opened in Odessa. In an attempt to prevent and clear up clutter within his own home the founder of A1 U-Store-It, Russ Williams, as his fishing gear got in the way. Assuming others had the same issue Williams bought several apartments to use as storage units for people to rent out.


The UK Gets In The Game

Eventually the self storage industry hit the UK by the 1980s expanding beyond personal storage to also include business storage of documents, stock and office equipment. 

Cost effectiveness, security and freeing up office space were key for the popularity of businesses using storage facilities. 


The Year 2000 – Modern Storage As Known Today

Steadily the self storage industry grew around the world near the year 2000 supply of self storage units was at a shortage due to the huge demand for them. In the next 5 years over 3000 new storage facilities popped up across America, in each year.


Self Storage Today : Post 2000 AD

By 2009 the industry continues to grow to 58,000 storage facilities. In the UK alone around 1,500 storage companies exist and are part of the Self Storage Association, who kindly rewarded Twenty4 Secure with the UK No.1 award in 2019. Business storage is believed to make up about 35% of self storage renting in the UK due to the ease of use and the vast benefits for those running their own businesses. 


In recent years the trend of 24/7 access storage facilities has grown and spread globally, further more boosting and supporting not only personal usage capabilities but broadening the possibilities for businesses. 


Readily available accessibility, 24/7 surveillance and clean secure units are the building blocks and foundations of many businesses such as tradesmen storing tools, office buildings storing excess equipment and store owners storing stock. Self Storage also allows for a more personal usefulness as moving house, retirement, marriage and divorce. 


As keeping those items that have a significant emotional importance is a priority during these times, having a trusted self storage facility is key. Knowing not only what makes a good storage facility but knowing which ones are available and best for you. 


Hopefully this has helped with your understanding of how the self storage business and Twenty4 Secure itself came to be! In preparation for the still increasing demand for self storage, Twenty4 Secure focus’ innovation and growth to help keep supporting our customers who need that little or large bit of extra space.

 From ancient Greece to modern Leeds it has evolved and prospered due to innovation and dedication. Eager to be part of the future of self storage, we have several ways of viewing, understanding and a variety of ways to rent our storage units. Along with guides on how to choose the right one for you.


 However, as always if you still have questions or need help with anything, feel free to visit our office, website or call our wonderful staff using the details below:


0113 426 9111

Enquiry Form

Twenty4 Secure Storage

Chelsea Close


LS12 4HP