The History of Private Safety Deposit Boxes

The American Civil War was only a few days away when a New York businessman called Francis Jenks came up with a concept that would forever alter the banking industry, private safety deposit boxes. Jenks, the wealthy son of a Harvard professor, began to wonder what he was meant to do with his belongings while he was out of town in March 1861 on holiday in England.

He started a business that would store belongings for New York’s “fashionable people,” who might wish to go to Europe for the summer. Rather than being concerned about burglaries, Jenks proposed that the urban elite keep their books, wills, jewellery, tea sets, and silver in private safe deposit boxes with him.

Jenks required two keys to unlock a box to ensure the safety of the boxes: one for the customer and one for his employees. Throughout the night, guards armed with muskets were stationed in front of the 146 Broadway building. He called it the New York Safe Deposit Company. It was the first of its kind, and demand skyrocketed as the Civil War erupted. Vanderbilts, Guggenheims, Roosevelts, and other prominent families began storing their treasures with Jenks. Hetty Green, the billionaire businesswoman, kept a private vault large enough to accommodate a desk inside.

It was such a success that safe deposit box companies with names like the Mercantile Safe Deposit Company and the Lincoln Safe Deposit Company sprouted up across the United States.

While the initial safe-deposit businesses were independent entities committed purely to safekeeping, large banks quickly became involved. By the early twentieth century, almost every bank in America had a safe-deposit division.

Safety Deposit Boxes in the UK

The UK safe deposit box can be traced back to the 17th century in London. We frequently imagine safe deposit boxes inside enormous bank vaults. However, goldsmiths gave their patrons secure safekeeping of treasures in their walled vaults even before banks were created.

In 1875, the first privately held National Safe Deposit Company opened its doors on 1 Queen Victoria Street in London in vast specialised premises. This vault grew so popular that by

1968, it had attracted 15,000 customers. Unfortunately, it had to close its doors less than 20 years later because its lease had expired.

Fortunately, this ancient structure still survives today as the City of London magistrates’ court. Chancery Lane Safe Deposit, established in 1876, was Britain’s second non-banking institution, providing safekeeping for Londoners’ household valuables and essential documents.

Harrods’ vault doors opened in 1896, St James’ Safe Deposit Company in Manchester in 1912, and London Safe Deposit Company at Lower Regent Street in 1931. Selfridges brought it in the 1930s in its Oxford Street store, and Metropolitan Safe Deposits started in 2012.

Several private safe deposit vaults were erected in the UK over the next 50 years. However, they were insignificant.

Which banks have safety deposit boxes in the UK?

Some banks in the United Kingdom offer safe deposit boxes to their customers. Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, Metro and Santander are among the leading banks that still provide this service, albeit only in a few locations across the UK.

The future of private safety deposit boxes in the United Kingdom

Until the 1980s, there was a moderate increase in the number of brand-new and modern private safe deposit boxes in London, Birmingham, Manchester, and other regional city centres. This increase has grown enormously in recent years as the banks continue withdrawing from this service due to concerns over costs and security and the mass closures of high street branches.

To summaries

The history of the safe deposit box industry dates back to the 17th century in London and the 19th century in the United States. From the first goldsmith vaults in the United Kingdom through Francis Jenks’ establishment of the Safe Deposit Company of New York, safe deposit boxes have evolved to provide customers with a secure and easy option to store their valuable belongings.

Throughout the ages, the sector has seen expansion and change, with large banks being engaged and private safety deposit boxes becoming increasingly popular in the UK in recent years. The private safety deposit box market will continue to evolve and provide innovative solutions to satisfy consumer needs as technology progresses. The continuous demand for secure storage grows to meet customers expanding needs.

To know more: Coventry Safety Deposit


Keep Your Valuables Safe with the Best Safety Deposit Lockers in the Area

Compared with the year ending June 2021, theft offences increased by over 17% to 1.4 million crimes, according to the Office of National Statistics. It is no surprise that people are concerned regarding their valuables and how to protect them. You read stories of sports stars having their houses burgled, sometimes whilst in their homes. Because the thieves know there will be goods worth taking a risk for.

So it would be best if you had a strategy to protect your own valuables. As well as good home security, you should add safety deposit boxes into your thinking. They are easy to arrange, cheap and carry the highest security, far higher than a home safe can provide. But it is not just valuables that a safety deposit box can protect. They are the perfect place to store valuables, sentimental items, or essential documents from theft or fire.

Safety deposit lockers were formerly exclusively available from banks. Still, since numerous independent, specialized businesses are now offering secure storage, it should be simple to locate one nearby for convenience.

What is a safety deposit box?

Typically, a deposit box is a metal box of various sizes kept in a secure vault. The vaults are built with extraordinarily thick, high-security walls and floors to prevent the potential of illegal access. The safety deposit lockers are secured using both physical security and technological protection. A dual-key entrance mechanism safeguards most vaults. The vault will use a physical or digital key to open your safety money box, and clients will use a private key to allow access.

Modern biometric entry systems and safety boxes with dual physical and biometric lock systems are features of some of the most recent independent secure vaults.

Why You Should Use a Safety Deposit Box

There are many advantages to having a safety deposit box. Even if you have a house safe, it is much more secure than in-home storage and gives you complete peace of mind regarding your belongings.

With a security box, you always know where everything is, unlike at home, where things can get lost or misplaced. You might be going through a contentious divorce or need to protect valuables or personal belongings from an unreliable family member. You may rest easy knowing that only those with permission can access your safety box.

Unexpected events like fires and floods are not a concern for you. Most vaults have sophisticated fire suppression systems, and many are entirely water-tight. The same degrees of security cannot be offered by a home safe. It is advised that clients should still store their valuables in water-tight boxes or bags for added security.

You can give the executor of your estate permission to open your box. Your executor will be able to carry out your instructions in accordance with your will, thanks to the legal access rights, including concerning the items in your safety deposit box.

While some providers permit access at all times, most only permit access to boxes during predetermined opening times for security reasons.

However, you won’t be charged if you access your box whenever you like.
In most cases, vaults offer safe, private viewing areas where you can discretely access the contents of your box.

Many safety box vaults offer free insurance and additional levels of insurance protection for the stored goods.

What is permitted to be kept in a safe deposit box?

You can store anything you want, barring those that are prohibited. High-security storage boxes are typically used for small objects and delicate documents like:-

• Precious metal bullion such as diamonds, gold, and silver
• Cash
• Jewellery, high-end watches, and keys
• Important and confidential documents include birth certificates, marriage certificates, passports, and other legal records.
• Discs for data backup and storage
• Photographs
• Paper Bonds and Stocks
• Items that are precious and irreplaceable

How to find a safety deposit box near me

Coventry Safety Deposit Centre is a long-standing provider of secure storage facilities in their purpose-built vault. They securely store the valuables for clients in Coventry and the surrounding areas.

They are members of the Safety Deposit Association and the Safety Deposit Federation. For your financial security, they are members of the Financial Conduct Authority.

Setting up an account to access a box only requires a photo ID, a Driving license or Passport and proof of address, and you can pay via cash, BACS or card payment.