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Who invented the skip? Alan Partridge

Who Invented the Skip?

Who invented the skip? 

In this hilarious clip from Alan Partridge, one of the funniest comedy characters ever, asks the question “who invented the skip?”.

Alan Partridge is a creation of the comedian Steve Coogan and first appeared on a BBC Radio 4 comedy called ‘On the hour’, in 1991. Alan later appeared as a spoof presenter on the tv comedy series ‘The Day Today’ and hosted his own chat show ‘Knowing Me, Knowing You’. Since the early nineties Coogan has gone onto play Partridge is several sitcoms, movies and a podcast on Audible.


Did Bobby Moore invent the skip?

No, it wasn’t Bobby Moore as the irate farmer suggests. Bobby Moore was the England soccer captain who lifted the 1966 FIFA World Cup forty-four years after the skip bin was invented.

So, who did invent the skip?

Ok let’s also have some fun here.

Coz I’m going to teach you something you definitely do NOT need to know. But if you’re looking for an offbeat conversational morsel to dazzle your friends with at your next dinner party, this could be it.

And the question is:

Who invented skip bins?

(Okay, I admit it. “Who wants pizza tonight?” is going to be a much more popular question, but hey, this isn’t a pizza site!)

Who invented skip bins? I mean, they’re a great idea and how would we ever survive modern life without them, but who came up with the idea in the first place, eh?

And why are those large rubbish removal bins called skips? Skipping ropes, I’ve heard of. Skipping my morning coffee, I’ve heard of (but not actually done). But what’s the story with skip bins?

Well, there’s a lot going on with this question, so let’s dive in. 

The History of Skip Bins

The word ‘skip’ is thought to have come down to us from ‘skep’, which was an Olde English word for a basket. Apparently that word came from 'skeppa' in the Norse language and ‘scope’ in the Olde English. It meant 'basket'.

Which makes sense because a skip is essentially a large rubbish basket. Pronunciation evidently morphed over time and ‘skep’ became ‘skip’.

Early skips were just woven baskets, often made from wicker or straw. So they’d only be able to carry light loads. 

a skip bin in front of an old house

Cotton Industry

History buffs tell us that the word ‘skep’ became popular when the Industrial Revolution picked up steam. See that clever little pun? Steam. As in steam engines. (As comedians like to say, that was some of my best work.) The industrial revolution in England is when steam power really took off.

In the cotton mills of Lancashire, workers ferried the woven cotton around in huge wheeled baskets, which they called skeps. 

Coal Mining Skips

Skeps were also used in the coal mining industry, although after a while they made them from wood and steel, and they started to be called ‘skips’.

During Victorian times, heavy duty wheeled containers were used down in the mines to get the quarried material and the rubble out from the mine shafts. In deep underground mines, the material was loaded onto trolleys and then specially-bred pit ponies were used to haul the loads.

What is a skip?

A skip is a large open-topped waste container designed to be loaded onto the back of a lorry. Although skips had been used in the mining industry for a long time, the modern skip that could be loaded onto a lorry was invented in the UK in 1922 by Edwin Walker.

Walker was an employee of a company that manufactured commercial vehicles and tipping gear called Page Field Vehicles. Page Field Vehicles was based with the Walker Brothers engineering firm at the Pagefield ironworks in Wigan, Lancashire.

Edwin Walker wanted to develop a solution for the growing problem of household waste disposal. Up until 1922 the rubbish was collected by horse-drawn carts. This was a lengthy process as the carts were efficient in towns but not on the longer distances to the refuse tips.

Walker developed a system of bulk disposal, a 300 cubic foot, horse-drawn containers that when full were winched onto the back of page field trucks and transported to the local rubbish dumps.

The Page Field system was later adapted by other companies across England and the rest of the UK. 

Over in the U.S. George Damster pioneered the invention of the Damster Dumpster skip truck. In 1935 George and his brothers invented a piece of equipment that could lift and transport containers at construction sites.

It wasn’t long before these oversized waste transporters found other applications in different industries, and they’ve been repurposed for industrial and construction waste disposal, as well as for domestic clean-ups and residential green waste, to name just a few of today’s uses. 

Australian Skip Bin Industry

In Australia today, the skip bin industry is worth a cool $3 billion.

Yes, that’s a fact.

IBISWord published some statistics in June 2019 about Australia’s Skip Bin Rental Industry. With $3 billion in revenue per year, and an annual growth of 1.6%, the industry here includes about 1,110 skip bin suppliers and employs about 8,240 people. 

How to Find a Cheap Skip Bin Hire

With over 1,000 competing businesses in the industry, finding the cheapest reliable skip bin service near you could be quite the headache.

Happily, eSkip now provides a searchable online database and ordering engine for skip bin hire all across Australia. To see how it works, just enter your postcode and a few details of what you need.

Contact eSkip today for your all your skip hire needs...A-HA!


who invented the skip Alan Partridge






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