A Short History of the Skip

The origins of the skip as we now know it date from the Industrial Revolution and cotton mill workers in Lancashire. They would place their cotton into large ‘skeps’ – essentially baskets on wheels. Miners also used ‘skeps’ for their coal at the time.

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As miners began to move more coal, the skeps could not keep up with the additional weight, so larger wooden and steel versions were made and put on wheels to make them easier to move.

As the build and size of the baskets evolved, so too did the name: language develops and ‘skep’ soon morphed and became ‘skip’.

Modern Skips

By the 20th century, skips were starting to come into common use as many town councils were facing a problem of the distance between household waste collections and the nearest dump. A Southport man created a 300-cubic-feet skip that could be filled on site and then winched on to a truck and driven away.

Several American groups patented vehicles using hydraulics to lift very heavily loaded skips on to trucks for transportation and subsequent disposal via a tipping action at the dump.

With consumers producing ever increasing amounts of waste to dispose of because of home renovations and redecorating, the cost of dealing with the issue rose significantly. Introducing skips was a hit with both residents and councils because it was easier to fill a skip and took less manpower.

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By the 1960s, the skip business was booming in the property sector too, and companies needed to shift huge amounts of industrial waste from building sites.

Before you throw everything into a skip, consider what you might be able to sell or recycle with the Telegraph’s guide. If a skip is required, there are lots of businesses across the country that could help. For example, in south Wales you can find Swansea skip hire firms. Regardless of the history of the word, the whole UK uses the word ‘skip’ now, so searching for Swansea skip hire is a safe bet.

So a skip can be a cost-effective way of getting rid of bulky waste. Many council recycling sites now charge for larger amounts of wood or plasterboard – volumes one might get from replacing a kitchen or bathroom – so skip hire remains a cheap, hassle-free way of getting rid of waste.