The history of the safe deposit box

Date Posted: 19-01-2021

The history of the safe deposit box within the UK traces back to the 17th century in London.

We often think about safe deposits boxes being housed in big bank vaults, but the reality is long before banks had been established, goldsmiths offered what was called “safe custody of valuables” in their fortified vaults for their customers’.

It wasn’t until 1875 that the UK saw its first privately-owned National Safe Deposit Company open its doors to large specialised premises at 1 Queen Victoria Street within the City of London. This vault became so successful that by 1968 it had amassed a whopping 15,000 customers. Sadly less than 20 years later the business was required to close due to the lease running out, however, fortunately this historic building still stands to date and is known as the City of London magistrates’ court.

Chancery Lane Safe Deposit was Britain’s second non-bank facility which opened in 1876 and provided strong rooms to safeguard Londoners household silver and important documents. Harrods opened its vault doors in 1896 , St James’s Safe Deposit Company in Manchester in 1912, the London Safe Deposit Company in Lower Regent Street in 1931 this was acquired by Metropolitan Safe Deposits in 2012, and Selfridges in its Oxford Street store in the 1930s.

For the next 50 years there were a few private safe deposit vaults built in the UK but none of major significance. It wasn’t till the 1980s that we saw a sequence of substantial growth of new and modern private safe deposit centres start-ups in London, Birmingham, Manchester, and other regional city centres, this has seen a 20% increase in the last 5 years partly due to the continued withdrawal of banks from these locations and banks closing their own safe deposit facilities.

Safe-deposit centres have come a long way since the 17th century. Our very own Safe Deposit centre is Manchester's only fully automated safety deposit centre and our vault has been built to the highest security standards and we are proud to be the sole safe deposit centre with a Grade 10 vault within the North West of England. We offer state of the art access controlled entrances with biometrics technologies, Flexible visiting hours making it easier than ever for our customers to gain access to their valued possessions. We offer a number of safe deposit box sizes to suit various retirements and our safety deposit box prices start from just £40, making them the best value safe deposit boxes in Manchester.

For more information about our Deposit centre facility’s call us on 0161 273 7487 or email us at