Making history

Our story began in 1957, and it's still going strong today. In fact, it's getting bigger and more exciting all the time, and you can follow it all from day one right here.

1957
1960s
1970s
1980s
1990s
2004
2007
2009 - 14
2015
2016
2017

1957

HSS Hire is the UK’s original tool and equipment hire company - we’ve been around since 1957 when Bert Taylor lent his sister a ladder and decided it could be a good business opportunity.

Our very first shop – The Hire Service Company - opened in Kensington followed quickly by more branches throughout London.

1960s

The Hire Service Company merged with another local hire company – Hire Shops Limited – and formed Hire Service Shops Limited. (And if you’re wondering where our HSS initials came from, there’s your answer.)

1970s

Our expansion continues outside of London, adding branches in Birmingham, Southampton, Cardiff and Manchester.

1980s

In the 80s we set up specialist divisions, including HSS Event Hire and HSS Lift & Shift.

1990s

HSS franchises began to grow internationally, including our first Irish brand opening in Belfast - and the first HSS Rental Store opened in the US.

And that didn't stop out UK growth, which saw 25 Hire Shops and 11 Lift & Shift depots opened in UK.

2004

In 2004, a management buy-in, backed by 3i, meant we became an independent company for the first time in around 50 years. That led to a more strategic approach with a co-ordinated network of ‘one stop shop’ branches that could hold larger stocks of kit and serve larger geographical areas more efficiently - and it also led to our first multi-million pound contract with Network Rail. 

2007

In 2007, 3i sold HSS to Och-Ziff Capital Management Group and Aurigo, the investment company headed by ITV2 Chairman Archie Norman. This provided us with a firm foundation for our ambitious growth plans as we moved towards becoming a more customer-focused business services support provider, rather than simply a high-street company.

2009 - 14

From 2009-15 the business oversaw a big expansion project including the acquisition of:

  • The rail safety training specialists, MTR Training.
  • Generator specialists, ABird.
  • Scottish generator hire company, Apex.

It was also a time of award-winning success including the Hire Company of the Year in 2009 and the European Rental Association European Hire Company of the Year award in both 2011 and 12. We also achieved international environmental management standards ISO14001 and OHSAS18001.

2015

HSS Hire Group PLC lists on the London Stock Exchange. We also acquired UK heating, ventilation and air-conditioning hire company, All Seasons Hire as well as launching the hire sector's first e-commerce site - hss.com.

2016

In 2016 we had another successful year, winning the coveted 'Best Employer Brand' award at the Recruitment Business Awards, showing our commitment to investing in our people and working environments.

We were also awarded Gold by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, with safety at the forefront of our minds in everything we do as a business.

2017

Steve Ashmore was appointed HSS Group CEO in 2017, bringing a wealth of experience from the supply chain and logistics sector. 

“I’ve stayed here so long because of the people around me and the great working environment.”

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