It's not hard to find a 'Lost' poster in London. Most appeal for missing pets or — all too often — people. But every so often we chance across something a bit different. It might be a heartfelt plea for a misplaced toy; a whimsical graffito on a toilet door; or a satirical swipe at something in the news.
1. LOST: The treasured plaything
As any parent will attest, infants love to chuck their stuff on the floor. All the sodding time, and especially when they're in their buggies. The act of decarrustration (to coin a phrase) happens so often that 'throwing the toys out of the pram' is a platitude. No wonder we see so many posters that appeal for the return of a prized plaything.
The poster above is particularly poignant, given the location near Great Ormond Street children's hospital. That below was spotted in Highgate Woods in 2015.
LOST: My virginity/marbles/rag
The 'Lost' poster is ripe for parody and twopenny japes. The photo up top was taken in 2013 in Shoreditch, but it's by no means the only poster to have fun with the format.
The snap above was taken in December 2016 outside the offices of Vice magazine, but was put together by online t-shirt-mongers Black Score in response to the Brexit result. These guys have form when it comes to such notices. Check out the Instagram tag #bsads for more such as this.
Also missing, increasingly, is the honey bee and its wild relatives. The apian plight is a common subject of street art, but has also been highlighted by Lost posters.
Others use Lost posters in an attempt to track down a fleeting encounter, as in this snap in Farringdon from 2012.
And then there's the species of Lost message commonly found inside toilet cubicles. They normally refer to virginity or underwear, but you also get the occasional comedian, as in the West End pub shown below.
FOUND: Lots of weird shit
There's an obvious flipside to the Lost poster. Items that go missing tend to be found by somebody. Occasionally, that person is kind enough to poster the area with Found notices.
The misplaced hat below was advertised in one of the side-streets north of Clerkenwell Road.
Meanwhile, someone in Primrose Hill was charitable enough to take in an un-neutered, adventurous ferret, and then flyer the area for the owner.
And finally, among the countless posters for missing cats and dogs, you occasionally find something a bit special. Here below, for example, is an artfully drawn if clumsily spelt appeal for a lost dog.
And then there's this... spotted in King's Cross in 2012.
And we're really not sure what's going on here...
All images by the author unless otherwise stated. Please feel free to share your own oddities in the comments.