British Association Of Removers


Spanning more than 100 years, the British Association of Removers has overseen the evolution of the removals industry in the UK into a professional trade.

The history of removals in Britain is one that embraces the transportation and storage of a whole variety of goods and even people. Many of the long established removal companies, and their predecessors, were borne out of other businesses. These included furniture makers, general carriers and hauliers, coal and oil merchants and even funeral directors.

Certainly some companies have always carried out the removal and storage of people’s goods, whether by hand, horse and cart or mechanised means, via sea, canal, rail, road or air.

In May 1900, a meeting was held amongst representative companies throughout ‘town and country’ to discuss the forming of an association of removals and storage businesses, similar to the burgeoning associations growing at that time in the USA and Germany.

The trade was facing growing pressure from a public making increasing levels of claims for damages, and from railway and insurance companies looking to raise prices for services to removal companies. There were also few common standards between companies, which made it difficult for estimates of work to be compared between them.

The Furniture Warehousemen and Removers’ Association was formed on May the 3rd 1900 ‘to be of general use to the members of the trade’, and has gone on to regulate and fight for the interests of removals and storage businesses (and their customers) ever since.

1915-1933 :
The ongoing hostilities and the resultant reduction in labour along with the commandeering of horses limited the ability of removal companies to carry out their trade. This is evident both during and after the war.

The Great Depression of the early 1930s compounds the issue for the trade.

1986-1999 :
BAR aims to provide the membership with a slimmer, leaner and more purposeful association.

The Association launched a number of functional groups to represent the interests of both our Members and their clients who operate in specialist ‘niche’ markets. These functional groups included the Commercial Moving group (CMG), the Overseas Moving Group (OG) and the SSSIG (Self Storage Special Interest Group).

BAR also relaunched its Training Services division in the modern format that we know today.

2000 :
The new millennium sees BAR celebrate it’s centenary. The dawn of globalisation and rise of new trading superpowers and multi-national corporations provides opportunity in the removal industry for expansion and diversification, which as the housing market shrinks in the post 2007 crash, then leads to a period of recession for the industry.

Competition becomes fierce and inevitably prices are driven down. Many BAR members consolidate their operations and some decide to call it a day. Those that survive the recession are stronger for the experience, better organised, leaner, and more cost efficient with an increasing focus on quality and customer care that is the hallmark of the modern BAR member.

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