Safe deposit boxes

What is our business?

Metropolitan’s safe deposit facilities are strategically placed in the Central and Western districts of Metropolitan London. The Company is the largest independent provider of this service in the United Kingdom. The three vaults provide thousands of boxes in over 20 different sizes ranging from four-inch wide and two-inch high boxes up to walk-in secure storage areas. The locations of the vaults are in Knightsbridge, St John’s Wood and Chiswick.

The two older vaults in Knightsbidge and St John’s Wood were designed, built and fitted out by the renowned Rosengrens of Sweden. The new vault in Chiswick was built by Robur Safe AB, another Swedish company that is regarded as a world leader in this field. All the vaults were specially constructed with massive physical strength and equipped with sophisticated alarm and surveillance systems. It is believed that this type of vault, when locked with the time-locked doors, has never been successfully breached.

The alarms cover not only the vault fabric and perimeter, but also each individual box. The safe deposit boxes are automated and controlled by a computer used by a security officer to supervise the use of any of the boxes. All alarm systems are monitored 24 hours a day by alarm company monitoring stations, which are in direct contact with the police. In addition, each vault is monitored by the other two branches, as well as by trained individuals.

The sophisticated alarm and control systems within the vaults give Metropolitan significant business advantages. They give the particular advantage of permitting the public to open their boxes without the necessity of an accompanying guard. The computer identifies each customer by means of an electronic card with an exclusive PIN number or by touch card, key and fingerprint technology. This provides the customer with immediate access and a visit to a box can be completed within a few minutes of arrival. For longer visits, private rooms and booths are available to allow customers to consult papers or documents.

Why risk leaving your valuables at home?

The background to the requirement for safe deposit facilities is well known. Domestic burglaries are all too commonplace and there seems little hope that this situation will improve very much. The installation of home safety provides only limited protection since, particularly if it is suspected that items of high value are present, robberies are increasingly taking place with owners being forced to open safes under threat of physical violence. The corollary of this rise in the number of burglaries is that insurance premiums have risen sharply and, in certain locations and for particular types of items, the cost is now almost prohibitive. The safe deposit provides a convenient method of avoiding the risks and costs of having valuables at home.

Why use Metropolitan rather than a bank?

Traditionally, security-minded people have tended to use the clearing banks for depositing valuables and documents, but this has a number of drawbacks for both the customer and the banks. It is inconvenient for the customer, since his/her visits must necessarily be made during banking hours and it is normally necessary to make an appointment. On the bank’s side, staff must be provided to supervise visits and considerable space is taken up. With the increasing rationalisation of branch banking networks and reduction in staffing levels, safe deposit facilities are not high on a bank’s list of priorities. Indeed, Barclays and HSBC have now completely exited the UK safe custody business and the remaining major banks have closed down most of their branches offering such services. The recent expansion into Chiswick was partly driven by the absence of safe deposit facilities at major banks in the area.


This site uses cookies as described in our Cookie Policy here. If you agree to our use of cookies, please continue to use our site. You may opt out of cookies by clicking here.