Alastair's Blog

When Anne met Alastair

Emily Lamont - Thursday, October 04, 2012

If you are a listener of Anne Diamond’s BBC Radio Berkshire show, you may have heard her chatting recently with Alastair Caldwell, the founder of Space Station. During his conversation with the TV and radio legend, Alastair talked car racing, movie making and, of course, self storage.

It is not long since Alastair returned from completing the month-long Trans-America car rally, and Anne was keen to hear about his amazing adventure. The journey took the competitors from New York on the east coast, through some of North America’s most spectacular scenery, to the freezing north-west coast of Alaska. As is typical of Alastair, rather than relying on modern motoring technology to help him on his journey, he chose to complete the endurance challenge in style, driving a 1962 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud. Oh, and, like any good son, he also took his 94 year old mother along for the ride too! To Anne’s astonishment, Alastair explained that, in total, the pair travelled a staggering 18,000 miles. 

As Alastair reminisced about his time leading the Maclaren Formula One racing team in the 1970s, Anne asked how a boy from New Zealand, with little in the way of qualifications, could rise to such an enviable position. From Alastair’s answer it was clear that it was sheer drive, determination and a passion for the job that took him to the top of his field.

As Anne and Alastair chatted about all things motor racing, the listeners may have been wondering if this is the same guy that owns and runs Space Station, the longest established self storage company in the UK. But then it all started to make sense. Alastair explained how he had first encountered the concept of self storage in Long Beach, California. He used the facility to store his Grand Prix car. At that moment a lightbulb went on in Alastair’s head and he could see the future. Starting in 1983, with rows of painted shipping containers, Alastair became the first person in Britain to offer that kind of self storage facility. Once again, that same drive, determination and a passion for the job meant that Alastair found himself in pole position in a whole new industry.

If Alastair’s life reads like the script of a Hollywood movie, it is appropriate that he was sought out by top Hollywood director, Ron Howard, to advise on the making of his new film, Rush, about the heyday of Formula One. After chatting with Anne about this unexpected turn in his career, Alastair mentioned that his next trip would be down the red carpet, at the film’s first screening.




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