Safes and the UK: A Look Back Through Time


We’re taking a look back through time to discover how life and our industry has changed in the UK.

The term ‘a safe’ first came into use in the early 1800’s, to describe a thief- or fire-resistant chest.  Initially it took the form of a wooden closet on which an iron door was mounted. It was seen as a luxury for the wealthy few and was also seen as way of protecting valuables from building collapse.

In 1834, the first fire-resisting patent was registered. On expiry of this patent all the subsequent fire-resisting safe manufacturers in the country, ranging from the two-man workshops of the Midlands to the great factories of Liverpool sprang to life, creating the basis of the industry we know today.

The majority of projects from the 1900’s called for heavy steel treasury doors, a speciality which continues to be used today.

Much of the success was due to the creation of new barrier materials called "Tannsteel" and "Tannalloy" which were developed in the 1930's.

The photograph is of the Chancery Lane Safe Deposit which opened in 1953 and introduced the use of the stainless steel C.6 door. Intended as a secure fire and burglary depository for the wealthy, the first safe deposit became convenient for the nearby diamond merchants in Hatton Gardens.

When the building above the original deposit suffered a direct hit during the war, it was decided to rebuild a sub-divided vault, to comprise 40 individual strong rooms, each housing a silver dealer's showroom, thus creating an avenue of small shops, each lockable and secure within the main vault overnight. This is now a popular tourist attraction and is known as the London Silver Vaults.

After 70 years in the industry, Associated Security has seen many changes too. In today’s market, home owners & businesses are keen to prevent their valuables from burglary and fire damage, in addition to having easy access to their safe. The modern invention of digital locks has meant that safe owners can access their items quickly and safely. Safes are now available in a wide range of shapes and sizes for both the business and the home, meaning that they are affordable and easy to install.

Contact us today and find out which safe is right for you. 

For more interesting content, take a look at the articles below:

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A Step by Step Guide: Which Safe is Right for Me

The importance of time in the Hatton Gardens Robbery