Last week, Reader’s Digest tried to find out which cities were the most honest by ‘losing’ wallets across town and seeing how many were returned. Embarrassingly, in London only five out of the 12 were handed in, ranking us rather poorly in the honesty stakes. But we think that Londoners are a damn sight more upstanding than that. And to prove it, we went to have a look around the incredible TfL Lost Property Office in Baker Street where a whopping 246,241 items were handed in last year from buses, tubes and black cabs.
51,000 books/documents/travel passes
35,000 articles of clothing
29,000 valuables (purses, wallets, cameras, cash, iPads etc.)
11,000 sets of keys
5,000 bits of jewellery
They even told us that the day after the iPhone 5 was released, someone handed one in instead of pocketing it! Take that naysayers. The staff then take their utmost care to find every item’s owner by contacting people if they can or trying to match up enquiries with stuff handed in.
Although 52,000 people were happily reunited with their property last year, few of them will have had the privilege of getting to see inside the treasure trove of London’s lost goods. So allow us to take you on a little journey into the strorage rooms of the lost property office…
Everything you could ever imagine is here.
You’d think bigger things would be harder to lose. Oh no. There are racks of prams (children not included)…
…and shopping trollies.
All the way down to shelves of catalogued keys, books and mobile phones all stored in envelopes.
There are sad-looking lost toys waiting for their owners.
And an eternity of umbrellas.
And then after three months, everything is unpacked, sold at auction, used again or disposed of…
…or kept by an Arsenal-supporting employee…
…or for posterity…
…or just because they’re too precious to get ride of. Like poor old Thomas’s ashes.
If you lose something on the tube, train, bus or in a taxi, head to tfl.gov.uk/lostproperty