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Founded on the 4th of August, 1964, Vanguard have been entrusted for decades with the handling and storage of the nation’s high-value treasures, businesses’ irreplaceable machinery, and people’s personal effects and heirlooms.


1964Warwick Road

This is 211 Warwick Road W14 which was Vanguard’s very first office. It was an ex-BR weighbridge hut which Vanguard rented from the Western Region of British Railways for £150 per annum.

On a hot Sunday, 3rd August 1964, the day before Vanguard started trading, Eddie McCormack, Ian Sandeberg and Mac McCullagh, together with Diane Brooks and Carole Maxey (their secretaries at Beck & Pollitzer where they had all previously worked) painted the whole of the 18ft x 8ft wide building inside and out. By midday they were enjoying a well-earned al-fresco pint immediately across the road outside the Warwick Arms.

They watched a very drunken individual weave his way up the pavement on the opposite side of the busy road and all became concerned when he stopped outside this door, the door of their pristine little office, undid his flies and it dawned on the team what he was about to do. They all became incandescent when they saw him flip open and pee through the letter box but there was nothing they could do the fast flowing traffic precluded immediate intervention. He had time to empty what he had to do and seconds later had his ears filled with every accusation and threat under the sun. He was as Irish as they come and apologised profusely, explaining: ‘Bajeezus, I didn’t know the wee building was occupied. I have been using that as a relief point after I leave the Pembroke Arms and before I reach the Radnor Arms and I promise never to do that again.’
Fortunately he didn’t.


1967Blythe Road

By 1967 Vanguard was flat out, seven days a week, working for many of London’s leading printing companies, breweries and soft drinks companies, plus a whole range of engineering firms. There was no way they could cope with the volume of work from their small rented office and depot in Warwick Road and consequently they decided to start looking for their own freehold depot.

Only half a mile away, behind Olympia in Blythe Road W14, they found the Swan Laundry, premises ideally suited to their needs. The freehold asking price was sixty thousand pounds and within a week, thanks to a generous loan repaid within three years, the ex-laundry premises had become the first freehold rung on the Vanguard property ladder.


1969Christmas Tree

For almost two decades, Vanguard played a central role in ‘planting’ the a major focal point of the capital’s festivities: the Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree.

We provided free transport of the Christmas Tree from Felixstowe Docks and temporary secure storage at Western Avenue, then delivered it to Central London and our early morning crew and crane would ‘plant’ the Christmas Tree.
The Tree is an annual gift from the people of the City of Oslo to Britain for help given to them during the dark days of Nazi occupation during the Second World War.



In 1972, Vanguard provided expertise for the second-ever tightrope walk across the River Thames by German dare-devil Franz Burbach.

Franz’s greatest ambition was to be the first man to tightrope across the River Thames. He had the ability, and the courage, but lacked the technical expertise and equipment to rig his rope. He contacted Vanguard for advice and to his relief they confidently replied “no problem”.

Two suitable warehouses were chosen – on the north bank in the City of London, Bull Wharf, and Bear Wharf, Southwark, on the south bank. We calculated the stresses to be superimposed on both buildings and via a complicated series of pulley blocks and winches were able to safely distribute the strain throughout the structures.
In 1997, we were called on to assist with another attempt, this time by a double-act, Didier Pasquette and Jade Kinder Martin. We anchored each end of the steel tightrope to two 120-ton cranes, then used winches to apply the final tension to the tightrope for their record-breaking event.


1973Tower Bridge

During the modernisation of London’s most famous bridge, Vanguard electrically disconnected, mechanically dismantled and removed for storage the Victorian hydraulic engines that were used to raise and lower the bridge, together with their 110-ton cast-iron accumulators.

We also removed the 100-person capacity hydraulic lifts by which pedestrians had crossed the bridge while the bascules were in the raised position. When the bridge first opened in 1894, there was so much river traffic the 1800-ton bascules spent most of the day raised. The only way for pedestrians to cross was either to travel in the 100-person lifts up to high level, walk across the footbridge and down the lifts on the other side or walk up through the oak staircases to the top.

The bridge structure was heated by gas throughout, consequently all the nooks and crannies and alcoves on either side of the staircase invited courting couples. The footbridge, 110 feet above road level, was also the chosen location for suicides. Within two years of opening the bridge, Parliament announced that the British Public could not be trusted. They were both conceiving and killing themselves and that put paid to the lifts, the staircases and the footbridge for the next 90 years until 1989 when Parliament decided the public had better places for their activities and re-opened the bridge to the public.



Vanguard always maintained a policy of embracing new technology and methods in their own industry and in 1982 formed Skyhook Lifting Limited, specialising in the installation of plant by helicopter on the top of high-rise buildings in city-centre locations, inaccessible to conventional cranage. Here, Skyhook’s own JetRanger helicopter provides hook-up training for Vanguard personnel.


1985Man Presses

In what was possibly the most valuable and time critical move of heavy printing machinery ever undertaken, Vanguard’s Transport Division collected 18,800 tons of MAN presses – valued at a massive $US450million – transported it from Man Roland Druckmaschinen AG in Augsburg Germany to Wapping, East London, Knowsley near Liverpool and Glasgow. We then offloaded and completed the mechanical and electrical installation in conjunction with MAN engineers.

Every press was installed ahead of schedule, completely damage free – not even the paint was scratched. This photograph shows the last of the 32 thirty-one-tonne printing units being placed at Wapping.



Vanguard carefully dismantled Eros, London’s best known statue, and his supporting Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain, packed them up and shipped them north of the border to Scotland.

Once there, they were meticulously renovated by Edinburgh firm Charles Henshaw & Sons, the company that originally cast Eros in 1893. A year later, looking as good as new, we re-installed Eros and the Fountain back to their rightful pace in Piccadilly Circus.



In early 1990, Vanguard showed off a selection of our heavy plant and equipment at the International Construction Equipment Exhibition at Wembley. On display were Vanguard’s 50-ton Boom Truck and 600-ton capacity gantry, but the spectacular icing on the top of our heavy lift cake was our very own Hawker Hunter, WT555.

WT555 was the very first production aircraft, once flown by Neville Duke and presented by him to the Duke of Edinburgh, who had himself received it on behalf of the RAF and his shield is still on the nose of the aircraft. We purchased WT555 in 1989 and periodically by popular demand it appears on the roof of our building on the Western Avenue, Greenford.



The Horses of Helios are four bronze horses, 1½ times life size, that Vanguard installed in an alcove in the corner of the Haymarket and Piccadilly.

Forced by restricted headroom to find an alternative method to a conventional crane, we designed and constructed a special 12-metre long extension to the jib of our 50-ton capacity Boom Truck to position the sculptures. Two of the bronze horses cast together weighed three tons and the height of the fountain and low headroom demanded rigging skills of the highest order.

On the roof above the Horses we positioned the Three Graces, each a double-life sized beautiful, naked, gold-covered young woman diving into space.


1992Buckingham Palace

Vanguard were contracted to dismantle and remove the existing air conditioning plant from the roof of the south west wing of Buckingham Palace. On the same day, we were also required to re-install the new air conditioning plant, but we were advised that the work could not be undertaken if the Queen was in residence.

On the chosen day, their team and huge GCI mobile tower crane arrived at the Palace at 0600 hours to find the Royal Ensign flying signifying the Queen was in residence. All permissions had been granted, all the systems were in place and it was too late to cancel the project and so Vanguard were asked to keep the noise to a minimum.

As planned, the huge crane reduced tyre pressure and literally crept under the arch with 10mm to spare. Once in the courtyard it was erected to its full height, enabling it to lift to a height of 100 metres at a radius of 55.

Vanguard immediately started work only to find they were the only act in a Royal Command Performance. Every ½ hour, one of the Queen’s household would appear and initially advised their team that the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were most interested in the performance and had a running commentary for each act.

Vanguard’s foreman received the Royal runner at regular intervals throughout the day explaining the action, namely: Act 1, the removal of the old plant and its transport off site; Act 2, preparing the vacated area to receive the new plant; Act 3, lifting the new plant to site; Act 4, assembling the new plant; Act 5, derigging and dismantling the crane and leaving the courtyard via that tight tunnel.

It is understood Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh were delighted by the performance and impressed by Vanguard’s grit and determination. It poured it down all day yet the work was completed exactly as scheduled.


1994Cutty Sark

To mark the start of a major public appeal for £2m to save Greenwich’s most famous landmark, Vanguard gave the Cutty Sark a facelift when we swapped the last of the original ship’s masts with a new 85 feet long mast weighing 8 tons. Two cranes, one 25-ton and one 90-ton, were used to perform a tandem lift, watched by celebrated yachtsman, Robin Knox-Johnston, who launched the appeal.

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Why Choose Vanguard Self Storage?
Step 1: Find your nearest depot

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Step 2: Choose your storage options

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Step 4: Visit your chosen depot

Once you have booked your storage, visit our depot to begin storing your items. If you have any questions, one of our friendly staff members will be happy to help.

Their were really helpful and especially Jay went above and beyond to assist me. I highly recommend this place and Jay, finally I had time to do the review, thank you so much for your help!
Alina Danai
Alina Danai
12:38 12 Jul 19
While I was looking for a temp storage my only resource at the time was Google maps..called a few places and chose W1 Self Storage.I'm happy I did. Everyone was super friendly, the location is convenient, access is easy and the storage facility is clean. If I ever need to store my things again..I'll for sure come back here.Shout out to Joao and Amal, it was a pleasure doing business with you ;)
Ale Espino
Ale Espino
16:15 09 Jul 19
Excellent security measures. Smooth, uncomplicated operation. Jay was very helpful.
Tara Drew
Tara Drew
08:59 26 Jun 19
From our initial enquiry to actually put the items into storage Jay was brilliant. Confirming by telephone to make sure we were happy and then again to check our timings closer to the arrival date. Upon arrival the process with Jay was seamless and everything was explained in detail.
A. Hasoon
A. Hasoon
08:59 20 Jun 19
Super useful storage based in the HEART of London. It’s easy to access with a car, and they have 2 months at -50% when you start a contract with them. I didn’t use all the days I had paid for and got a refund and my deposit back smoothly, thanks Jay!!
Thais Ondet
Thais Ondet
17:00 08 May 19
Highly recommended - Joao is super friendly and helpful! We've been storing our stuff here on and off for the past few years and had great experiences every time.
Jennifer Lee
Jennifer Lee
21:13 07 May 19
Very courteous and helpful. Gives immediate help with loan of trolleys when necessary
keith louch
keith louch
15:25 30 Apr 19
I've had the pleasure of working with Jay for the last two months at Vanguard.. I couldn't ask for or imagine a better point of contact - he is consistently helpful, addressing all of my queries and requests immediately (and there have been MANY!), taking stress out of managing storage for our constantly-fluctuating needs.. Honestly, it is the most pain-free experience I have ever dealt with when it comes to working with vendors.. I highly recommend using Vanguard for ANY storage needs..
Annie Gaudet
Annie Gaudet
10:25 24 Apr 19
Excellent service and responsiveness from staff. A very convenient location and the storage facilities are clean and easy to access.
18:03 29 Mar 19
Amazing service and very friendly staff. They helped with my storage at a very short period of time, and really appreciate the flexibility they are offering to make sure I have a secured unit. Clean and safe storage in Central London, I do highly recommend it. The only issue I had was the height restriction in the carpark, it didn't allow Luton vans to drive inside and park right outside the storage, but speak to the staff there and they are happy to offer solutions. Make sure to mention this to the man & van or removal companies too so they have an idea. It worked out fine for me with the loading, just took a little longer.
Ellie W
Ellie W
13:49 18 Mar 19
Really nice experience here with Jay, I was not 100% sure of what size unit to go for but at no point did I feel I was being pressured to take a larger unit. Every point of the process was explained in detail clearly for me. thanks very much.
John Reynolds
John Reynolds
18:33 16 Mar 19
So super helpful! A great convenient storage facility! Thank you so much! Garry
Garry Rose
Garry Rose
13:31 15 Mar 19
I had 2 storage units here for over a year and was really impressed with the efficiency, safety and accessibility. Joao was friendly and helped me a great deal moving in and moving out.
Katie Keight
Katie Keight
11:12 15 Mar 19
Was a super nice visit. The customer service was excellent - I was received by a young lady named Amal - she was a very lovely lad. I came in at the start of my visit somewhat stressed, but she answered all my queries, and even helped give me some personal advise (my boyfriend cheated on me countless times and he had the audacity to kick ME out). Anyway, I didn't have anywhere to stay and all this extra stuff with no idea where to store it, but coming here really saved my life. Will definitely visit again! And will definitely recommend to others!
Random Highs
Random Highs
16:40 15 Dec 18
Very well run and managed storage facility with excellent security in Central London. I have been a customer for a couple of years now and have always found the organisation and efficiency to be first class. I have primarily dealt with Joao for whom nothing is ever too much trouble. He is professional, courteous and always helpful. Would highly recommend this facility.
C Healy
C Healy
08:03 06 Sep 18
Very straight forward and easy to use service. From the first enquiry on the internet to the first phone query the service was excellent and very friendly.In person the help and service from Jay was excellent and really helpful.
Gregory Davis
Gregory Davis
14:46 29 Aug 18
I have been using W1 Self Storage for over 3 years, their facility is very clean and well lit compared to other Storage units in the area. The manager Joao is very helpful and the main reason I renew the contract every year. Thanks
Adel Martelli
Adel Martelli
18:10 21 Aug 18
We have been so pleased with the service and quality of W1 Self Storage and the manager Joao. He is so helpful and has worked with us to upgrade our unit as needed over the last year or so. We would highly recommend using their facilities and services. They are friendly, polite and always willing to help in anyway they can. The facility is secure and very user friendly.
Tamara Soliz
Tamara Soliz
22:07 10 Aug 18
Amazing location and exceptional service. Jay and his team are extremely kind and make sure everything works seamlessly. I recommend W1 Self Storage to all my friends!
Ferdinand Droulers
Ferdinand Droulers
12:39 08 Aug 18
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