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May 31, 2023

3 Min Read
Vanguard Self Storage of England Stores and Displays Historical Artifacts

Update 5/31/23 – Vanguard continues to garner public attention for the unusual and historical items it displays at its self-storage facilities. Local news website Bristol24/7 recently highlighted the company for the English Electric Lightning (EEL) XP745 fighter jet it has hanging in the atrium at its location in Bristol, England.

Vanguard founding director Mac McCullagh purchased the plane in 1992 for £1,500, then had it disassembled and put in storage for 20 years. In 2016, the company decided to build the atrium at the 22 Church Road site, so it could put the jet on display. McCullagh hired EEL experts Dave Blisset and Max Waldron to restore its airframe, and the EEL has subsequently hung from the atrium ceiling since 2019, according to the source.

The British EEL XP745 was used by the Royal Air Force as well as the militaries in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia from the 1960s to the 1980s. Capable of reaching Mach 2 (twice the speed of sound), the jets were designed to be used in the defensive interception of enemy aircraft. Having the plane on display in Bristol is significant because its engines were manufactured in the city, the source reported.

Similar to other historical items on display at Vanguard facilities, the EEL draws a lot of attention from visitors to the property. It also “gives people a bigger picture of what the company is about,” said Anil Kellay, an employee at the Bristol site.

9/3/13 – Vanguard Self Storage, an England-based company approaching its 50th anniversary, is proud to flaunt its personal and local history through some unique building accoutrements, including a former RAF Hawker Hunter fighter jet that was installed on its roof in July. In addition, the company displays other military souvenirs at its headquarters including an artillery gun, an armored vehicle and another plane. The items have been collected over the years by the company's founding director Mac McCullagh, who is still in charge today, according to the source.

Vanguard, founded in 1964 to provide industrial moving and storage services, has changed the decorative icons on its landmark building over the years. Its prominent tower has displayed many items including over-scaled furniture, a giant Father Christmas and a single-decker London bus.

Although Vanguard has long since sold off its lifting business to focus on storage, the company retains many souvenirs of its past at its Perivale headquarters. Its private storage hangar contains other unexpected items secured by McCullagh including printing presses, a huge poster for concerts Michael Jackson never lived to perform, a plaque to Hogarth from Leicester Square, the clock from the former News of the World building, a Routemaster bus, and razor wire said to come from the Wapping protests of the 1980s. Photos of the various collectibles can be viewed at www.vanguardstorage.co.uk/history.

Vanguard Storage Services Ltd. is privately owned and family-operated business. Over the decades, the company has been involved in high-profile work including the erection of the Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree and the renovation the Cutty Sark clipper ship. The company reinstalled "Eros" on his pedestal following works in Piccadilly Circus and maneuvered the nearby Horses of Helios into their fountain. The printing presses of Fleet Street and the Victorian engines of Tower Bridge were similarly lifted. According to the website, the companys little-known archives offer a fascinating glimpse into the changing face of London in the second half of the 20th century.

In the last decade, Vanguard has focused on self-storage services and developing other commercial property opportunities. The company opened its West London (Greenford) store in 2003, its East London (Canary Wharf) store in 2004 and its Manchester (Swinton) store in 2009.

Bristol24/7, Historic Fighter Jet Continues to Fly in Self-Storage
Londonist, Why Is There A Rooftop Fighter Plane Near Perivale?

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