Has Anyone Seen My Umbrella?

By Rob Last edited 171 months ago
Has Anyone Seen My Umbrella?

Lost property is a strangely English obsession.

It's a subject which seems to tie in with those icons of British culture: the briefcase, the bowler hat and the black umbrella. Plus, lost property statistics seem to fascinate us as a nation. Weird bits of trivia detailing how much stuff we've lost and how weird some of it is, seem to have become perennial news items.


Take the survey results released yesterday by Halifax General Insurance.

"In London alone the city’s transport lost property office retrieves 130,000 items of lost property each year," the Chief Executive of HGI is quoted as saying. "In just one year 10,614 mobile phones, 7,505 sets of keys and 7,026 umbrellas were handed in to the Transport for London Lost Property Office."

(The report also, inevitably, informs us that "More obscure items have also found their way into lost property including a stuffed eagle, a 14ft boat and even a kitchen sink.")

Londonist has to admit we've never turned to the lost property office after leaving something on a bus or train. Maybe our faith has been eroded by the ravages of modern society. Or maybe we know that they'll just give us a better phone for free if we say it was nicked.

If you've ever had a good (or bad) experience with the Lost Property Office let us know in the comments section.

Last Updated 23 November 2004